Skip to main content

Full text of "The complete works of Thomas Brooks"

See other formats


00 


CD 


CO 


mif 


m 


[  I 


'^M- 


miTtiifc  uwt^t 


¥ 


> 


ORONTO. 


STACKS  J 

RbS&ister  '^o^.Zi^:i£^ 


/ 


k)fA:Ck. 


^•^ 


<*^. 

■m^'. 

^*i    :'       ■ 


NICHOL'S  SERIES  OF  STANDARD  DIVINES. 

PUEITAN  PERIOD. 


BY  JOHN  C.  MILLER,  D.D., 

LINCOLN  OOLLBQK;  HONOBAET  canon  of  WOEOESTEB;  EKCTOE  of  ST  MAETIN'S,  BIRMINGHAM, 


THE 


WORKS  OF  THOMAS  BEOOKS. 

VOL.   III. 


COUNCIL  OF  PUBLICATION. 


W.  LINDSAY  ALEXANDER,  D.D.,  Professor  of  Theology,  Congregational 
Union,  Edinburgh. 

JAMES  BEGG,  D.D.,  Minister  of  Newington  Free  Church,  Edinburgh. 

THOMAS  J.  CRAWFORD,  D.D.,  S.T.P.,  Professor  of  Divinity,  University, 
Edinburgh. 

D.  T.  K.  DRUMMOND,  M.A.,  Minister  of  St  Thomas's  Episcopal  Church, 
Edinburgh. 

WILLIAM  H.  GOOLD,  D.D.,  Professor  of  Biblical  Literature  and  Church 
History,  Reformed  Presbyterian  Church,  Edinburgh. 

ANDREW  THOMSON,  D.D.,  Minister  of  Broughton  Place  United  Presby- 
terian Church,  Edinburgh. 

©tnrral  ©Ht'tor. 
REV.  THOMAS  SMITH,  M.A.,  Edinbuboh. 


HEiftMl»l^EjirfpiS| 


£/?o 


NTO 


THOMAS    BROOKS. 


BY  THE  EEV.  ALEXANDER  BALLOCH  GEOSART, 
LIVERPOOL. 


VOL.   III. 


CONTAINING : 


THE   UNSEARCHABLE   RICHES   OF   CHRIST. 
A   CABINET   OF   JEWELS. 


EDINBURGH  :  JAMES  NIGHOL. 

LONDON :   JAMES  NISBET  AND  CO.     DUBLIN :    G.  HERBERT. 


M.DOCO.LXVI. 


EDINfiUBOH : 
■PRINTED  BT  JOHN  GREtG  AND  SON, 
^OLD  PHYSIC  GARDENS. 


kiio]jLfp 


CONTENTS. 


I.-THE  UNSEAECHABLE  EICHES  OF  CHEIST. 

PAGE 

Epistle  Dedicatory,       .  .  .  .  .  .  8-6 

The  words  opened,  ......  7-8 

The  first  doctrine. — Tlwse  that  are  lowest  in  their  own  esteem  are 

highest  in  God's  esteem^  proved,        .              .  8—10 

Eighteen  properties  of  an  humble  soul,           .             .             .  10-26 

•     Five  reasons  of  the  point,      .....  26-29 

Uses  of  it,     .......  29-30 

Eight  motives  to  provoke  persons  to  be  humble,          .             .  30-36 
Nine  directions  and  helps  to  keep  us  humble  and  low  in  our  own 

eyes,      .......  86-41 

The  dangerous  nature  of  pride  held  forth  in  nine  propositions  : 

also,  six  ways  wherein  pride  shews  itself,              .             .  41-48 

The  second  doctrine. — All  saints  are  not  of  an  equal  size  and  growth 

in  grace  and  holiness,        .  .  .  48-49 

Twelve  things  by  which  souls  weak  in  grace  are  discovered  and 

deciphered,         ......         49-60 

Twelve   supports   and  comforts   to   uphold  weak   Christians, 

Wherein  also  you  may  see  how  Christ  and  they  are  sharers,         60-75 

Six  duties  that  lie  upon  weak  saints.  And  in  the  opening  of 
them,  several  weighty  questions  are  propounded  and 
answered,  .  .  .  .  .  .         75-95 

The  duties  of  strong  saints  to  the  weak  shewed  in  eleven  particu- 
lars,      .  .  ,  .  .  .       95-102 

The  third  doctrine, — That  the  Lord  gives  the  best  gifts  to  his  best  be- 
loved oneSf  ....  103 
What  those  best  gifts  are  that  Christ  bestows  upon  his  dearest 

ones,  shewed  in  ten  particulars,  .  .  .     103-110 

The  difference  between  Christ's  giving  and  the  world's  giving, 

shewed  in  six  things,       .....     110-111 
The  excellency  of  those  gifts  that  Christ  gives  above  all  other 

gifts  that  the  world  gives,  shewed  in  five  things,  .  .     111-113 

Six  reasons  why  God  gives  the  best  gifts  to  his  dearest  ones,  .  '  113-117 
Eight  inferences  or  uses  made  of  this  point,     .  .  .     117-122 

A  word  to  sinners,      ......     122-124 

The  fourth  doctrine. — That  the  gifts  and  graces  that  God  bestows  upon 
his  people  should  be  improved,  employed,  and 
exercised  by  his  people,       .  .  .  124 


VI 


CONTENTS. 


This  point  proved  and  opened, 

Twelve  reasons  why  gracious  souls  should  exercise  and  improve 

their  gifts  and  graces  ;  in  the  handling  and  opening  of 

which  reasons  several  other  considerable  things  fall  in, 
Three  special  ends  that  the  gifts  and  graces  that  God  has  be 

stowed  upon  believers  should  be  exercised  and  improved  to 
The  main  use  is.  To  stir  up  all  Christians  to  make  a  blessed  im 

provement  of  their  gifts  and  graces. 
Seven  considerations  or  motives  to  stir  saints  up  to  improve  their 

talents,  ...... 

Question  :  When  may  a  soul  he  said  to  he  excellent  in  grace,  or  to 

have  highly  improved  grace  f       ,      .       . 
This  question  receives  ten  answers,     . 

The  fifth  doctrine. — That  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ  is  very  rich, 
This  point  is  opened  and  proved  by  eight  arguments,  . 
Four  grounds  and  reasons  why  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ  is  held 

forth  in  the  word  to  be  so  very  rich. 
The  excellency  of  the  riches  of  Christ  above  all  other  riches 

the  world,  held  forth  in  seven  particulars, 


PAGE 

124-125 


125-136 

136-140 

140 

141-147 

147 
147-150 

150 
151-155 


155-157 
157-161 


1st  Use  is.  To  exhort  Christians  to  labour  to  he  spiritually  rich. 

Seven  considerations  or  motives  to  work  Christians  to  this  ;  in 
the  handling  of  which,  several  weighty  questions  are 
answered,  ......     161-172 

Question  :   What  means  must  Christians  use  that  they  may  grow 
rich  in  grace  f 

Answered  in  eight  things,       .....     172-179 

Seven  propositions  concerning  spiritual  riches.  The  serious 
minding  of  them  may  give  to  many  much  satisfaction,  and 
prevent  many  objections,  ....     179-190 

Five  notes  or  signs  of  a  person  that  is  spiritually  rich,  .     190-192 

2d  Use.     Do  not  join  anything  with  Christ,  in  the  great  work 

of  your  redemption  and  salvation,  .  .  .     192-193 

8d  Use.     If  Christ  be  so  rich,  then  take  heed  of  three  things,       193-194 

4th  Use.     If  Christ  be  so  rich,  oh  then  open  to  Christ  when  he 

knocks,  ......  194 

5th  Use.     If  Christ  be  so  rich,  then  sit  down  and  wonder  at  his 

condescending  love,         .....     194-195 

6th  Use.  If  Christ  be  so  rich,  then  prize  Christ  above  all.  Five 
considerations  to  work  Christians  to  a  high  prizing  of 
Christ,    .......     195-198 

7th  Use.  Then  trust  to  Christ,  if  he  be  so  rich.  Trust  him 
with  your  best  treasure.  Trust  him  for  power  against  the 
remainders  of  corruption.  Trust  him  to  bring  you  into  the 
land  of  rest,         ......  198-199 

8th  Use.     If  €hrist  be  so  rich,  then  do  not  leave  him,  do  not 

forsake  him,  do  not  turn  your  backs  upon  him,      .  .  199-200 

9th  Use.  If  Christ  be  so  rich,  oh  then  let  Christians  strive 
more  and  more  to  clear  up  their  interest  in  Christ.  Six 
directions  herein,  .....  200-202 

A  word  to  sinners,       ......  202-203 

Nine  directions  to  poor  souls  that  would  fain  get  an  interest  in 

Cbrist,      .  .....  203-207 


CONTENTS.  Vll 


The  sixth  doctrine. — That  it  is  the  great  duty  of  preachers  or  ministers 

to  preach  Jesus  Christ  to  the  'people,  proved,    .  207-208 
Five  reasons  why  ministers  must  preach  Christ  to  the  people,    .  208-210 
How  Christ  is  to  be  preached,  shewed  in  eleven  things. 
(1.)  He  must  be  preached  plainly,  perspicuously,  .  .  211-212 

(2.)  ...  ...         faithfully,     ....  212-213 

(3.)  ...  ...         humbly,       ....  213 

(4.)  ...  ...         wisely,         ....  213-214 

(5.)  ...  ...         zealously,    ....  214-215 

(6.)  ...  ...         laboriously,  .  .  .  215-216 

(7.)  ...  ...         exemplariiy,  .  .  .  216-217 

(8.)  .        ...  ...         feelingly,  experimentally,      .  .  217-218 

(9.)  ...  ...         rightly,        ....  218-219 

(10.)  ...  ...         acceptably,  .  .  .  .219 

(11.)  ...  ...         constantly.     They  must  not  lay  down  the  Bible 

to  take  up  the  sword,  &c.,         ....  219-220 

Three  rules  or  directions,  that  such  are  to  observe,  as  would 

preach  Christ  aright  to  the  people. 
(1.)  They  must  get  a  Christ  within,      ....  220-221 

(2.)  They  must  mind  more,  and  study  more  Scripture  truths, 
Scripture  mysteries,  than  human  histories.     No  histories 
comparable  to  the  histories  of  the  Scriptures,  hinted  in 
seven  things,      ......  221-222 

(3.)  They  should  dwell  much  upon  the  vanity  of  human  doc- 
trines, the  vanity  of  which  doctrines  is  discovered  in 
five  things,         ......  222-223 

The  last  doctrine. — That  the  office  of  a  faithful  minister  is  an  honour- 
able office. 
Two  things  are  premised  for  a  right  understanding  of  the  point,  223 

I.  Seven  things  speak  them  out  to  be  honourable. 

(1.)  The  several  worthy  names  and  titles  that  are  given  them 

in  Scripture,  speak  them  out  to  be  honourable,    .  .  224 

(2.)  Their  work  is  honourable,  ....  224 

(3.)  They  are  fellow-labourers  with  God  in  the  salvation  of  sin- 
ners.    And  what  greater  honour  than  to  be  a  co-worker 
with  God  ?         .  .  .  .  .  .224 

(4.)  The  honourable  account  that  God  hath  of  them,  speaks  out 

their  office  to  be  honourable,       ....  224-225 

(5.)  They  serve  an  honourable  master,  .  .  .  225 

(6.)  Their  very  work  and  service  is  honourable,  .  .  225 

(7.)  Their  reward  is  honourable,  ...  .  225-220 

II.  What  honour  that  is  that  is  due  to  faithful  ministers,  shewed 

in  three  things. 
(1.)  Honourable  countenance  is  due  to  them,   .  .  .  226-227 

(2.)  Honourable  maintenance,  ....  227-228 

(3.)  Honourable  obedience,      .....  228-229 

A  short  use,    .......  229-236 

Quest.  How  must  Christians  honour  their  faithful  ministers. 

Shewed  in  five  things. 
(1.)  By  hearing  them,  and  giving  credit  to  their  messages  which 

they  deliver  from  the  Lord,         ....  230 

(2.)  By  standing  fast  in  the  doctrine  of  the  Lord  delivered  by 

them,     .......  230 


viii  CONTENTS. 


PAGE 


(3.)  By  being  followers  of  them,  so  far  as  they  are  followers  of 

Christ, .230 

(4.)  By  bearing  them  upon  your  hearts,  when  you  are  in  the 

mount,  .  .  .  .  •  .•  230-231 

(5.)  By  adhering  to  them,  and  abiding  with  them  in  all  their 

trials,  &c.,  .  .  .  •  •  .231 

The  use  of  dl •  231-232 


II -A  CABINET  OF  JEWELS. : 

Epistle  Dedicatory,         ......  236-248 

Chapter  I. — Eighteen  special  Maxims,  Considerations,  Eules,  and 
Directions  that  are  seriously  to  be  minded  and  observed,  in  order 
to  the  clearing  up  of  a  man's  interest  in  Christ :  the  saving  work 
of  God  upon  his  own  soul ;  and  his  title  to  all  the  glory  of 

another  world, 249-306 

Chapter  II. — Many  choice,  precious,  and  infallible  evidences  of 
true  saving  grace,  upon  which  a  Christian  may  safely  and 
securely,  comfortably  and  confidently,  rest  and  adventure  the 
weight  of  his  precious  and  immortal  soul,  and  by  which  he 
may  certainly  know  that  it  shall  go  well  with  him  for  ever  :  and 
that  he  has  a  real  saving  interest  in  Christ,  and  shall  be  everlast- 
ingly happy,  when  he  shall  be  here  no  more,  &e.,  .  .  306-390 

Chapter  III. — Sound,  saving  repentance,  repentance  unto  life  ;  that 
evangelical  repentance  that  hath  the  precious  promises  of  remis- 
sion of  sin  and  salvation  running  out  unto  it.  So  far  as  may 
speak  it  out  to  be  evidential  of  the  goodness  and  happiness  of 
a  Christian's  spiritual  and  eternal  condition,      .  .  .  390-436 

Chapter  IV. — How  far  an  hypocrite  cannot  go.  What  an  hypocrite 
cannot  do.  What  a  hypocrite  is  not.  The  several  rounds  in 
Jacob's  ladder  that  no  hypocrite  under  heaven  climb  up  to,       .  436-466 

Chapter  V. — Some  propositions  and  directions,  that  so  you  may  see 
what  a  sober  use  and  improvement  Christians  ought  to  make  of 
their  evidences  for  heaven ;  and  how,  in  the  use  of  gracious  evi- 
dences, they  ought  to  live  above  their  gracious  evidences,  and 
how  to  exalt  and  lift  up  Christ  above  all  their  graces,  evidences, 
and  performances,       ......  466-505 


THE  UNSEARCHABLE  RICHES  OF  CHRIST. 


VOL.  III. 


NOTE. 

The  '  Unsearchable  Riches  of  Christ '  was  originally  published  in  1655.  A  second  edi- 
tion followed  in  1657  ;  a  third,  *  corrected  and  amended,'  in  1661 ;  and  a  fourth  in  1671 — 
all  4to.    Our  text  is  the  third  edition,  and  its  title-page  is  given  below.* — G. 

*  *  An^i^viaffTOi  <7rXovroi  rou  ^^igtov. 

THE 

Unsearchable  Eiches 

OF 

CHRIST. 

OR, 

MEAT  for  STRONG  MEN, 

And 

MILKE /or  BABES. 

Held  forth  in  Twenty.two  ^ 

SERMONS 

FROM 
Ephesians  III.  VIII. 

By  Thomas  Brooks,  Preacher  of  the  word 
in  London. 

The  Third  Edition  Corrected  and  Amended. 

Ipse  unus  erit  tibi  omnia,  quia  in  ipso  uno  bono,  bona  sunt  om- 
nia, Aug. 
It  pleased  the  father,  that  in  him  should  allfullnesse  dwell.   Col.  1.  19. 
In  lohom  are  hid  all  the  treasures  ofwisdome  and  knowledge.    Chap.  2.3. 

LONDON  :  Printed  by  M.S.  for  John  Hancock  at  the  first  Shop  in 
Popes  head- Alley,  next  to  Cornhill. 
166  1. 


EPISTLE  DEDICATORY. 


To  all  true  Israelites,  in  whom  there  is  no  guile,  Grace,  mercy,  and 
peace,  from  God  the  Father,  through  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  be 
multiplied. 

Dear  Hearts,  my  design  in  appearing  once  more  in  print  is  not  to 
please  the  captious  critic,  or  the  sullen  cynic,  but  to  heighten  your 
'  fellowship  with  the  Father  and  the  Son,'  1  John  i.  3,  4,  and  to  further 
you  in  a  closer  walking  with  God,  and  to  ripen  yoa  more  and  more  for 
reigning  with  God  when  you  shall  be  here  no  more. 

'  Beloved  in  our  Lord,'  there  are  two  sad  and  great  evils — oh  that 
there  were  no  more  ! — among  the  saints  this  day.  The  strong  are  very 
apt,  yea,  they  make  little  of  offending  the  weak  ;  and  the  weak  are  as 
apt,  and  make  as  little  of  judging  and  condemning  the  strong,  Rom. 
xiv.  1-10.  The  serious  and  conscientious  perusal  of  this  treatise  may, 
by  the  blessing  of  the  Lord,  contribute  much  to  the  preventing  of  those 
sad  evils.  You  that  are  weak  may,  in  this  treatise,  as  in  a  glass,  see 
your  weakness,  your  mercies,  your  graces,  your  duties,  your  privileges, 
and  your  comforts.^  You  that  are  weak  in  grace,  may  here  find  many 
questions  answered  and  doubts  resolved,  that  tend  to  the  satisfying, 
quieting,  settling,  and  establishing  of  your  precious  souls  in  peace,  joy, 
and  assurance.  You  that  are  weak  in  grace,  may  here  find  a  staff  to 
support  you,  a  light  to  direct  you,  a  sword  to  defend  you,  and  a  cordial 
to  strengthen  you,  &c.  And  you  that  are  strong  in  grace,  may  here  see 
what  is  your  way,  what  is  your  work,  and  what  at  last  shall  be  your  re- 
ward. Here  you  will  find  that  which  tends  to  the  discovery  of  spirits, 
the  sweetening  of  spirits,  the  uniting  of  spirits,  the  healing  of  spirits,  and 
the  making  up  of  breaches,  &c. 

Here  you  will  find  '  meat  for  strong  men,'  and  '  milk  for  babes.'  Here 
you  will  find  who  is  more  motion  than  notion  ;  more  heart  than  head ; 
more  spirit  than  flesh  ;  more  inside  than  outside,  &c. 

Here  you  will  find  '  the  unsearchable  riches  of  Christ,' — which  of  all 
boxes  of  precious  ointment  is  the  most  precious — opened  ;  and  oh  how 

•  Invalidum  omne  natura  querulnm,  weak  spirits  are  ever  quarrelling  and  contending. — 
Seneca.     [Z>e  Animi  Tranquillitate. — G.] 


4  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  RICHES  OF  CHRIST. 

sweet  must  he  be,  that  is  the  sweetest  of  sweets !  In  Christ  are  riches 
of  justification  ;  in  Christ  are  riches  of  sanctification,  riches  of  consola- 
tion, and  riches  of  glorification.  And  this  following  treatise  may  serve 
as  a  key,  I  say  not  as  a  golden  one,  to  open  the  door,  that  you  may  come 
where  these  treasures  lie.  Christ's  riches  are  like  the  eternal  springs 
of  the  earth,  that  cannot  dry  up,  but  are  and  shall  be  diffused  by  his 
Spirit  and  gospel,  until  his  whole  house  be  filled  with  them. 

The  excellency  and  usefulness  of  the  riches  of  Christ,  and  answers  to 
many  weighty  queries  about  his  unsearchable  riches,  is  more  than 
hinted  at  in  this  tract.  In  this  tract  much  is  spoken  concerning  the  nature, 
properties,  and  excellencies  of  humility,  which  is  both  the  beautifier  and 
preserver  of  all  other  graces. 

Here  you  may  see  that  those  that  are  lowest  in  their  own  esteem,  are 
highest  in  God's  esteem.  Here  you  may  see  that  humble  souls  are  not 
so  low  and  contemptible  in  the  eyes  of  the  world,  as  they  are  honourable 
in  the  eyes  of  God.^ 

And  if  ever  there  were  an  age  since  Christ  was  on  earth,  wherein  it 
was  needful  to  preach,  press,  and  print  this  great  doctrine  of  humility, 
of  self,  of  soul  abasement,  this  is  the  age  wherein  we  live.  Oh  the  pride, 
the  stateliness  of  the  professors  of  this  age !  But  because  this  point  is 
largely  spoken  to  in  this  tract,  I  shall  satisfy  myself  with  this  touch. 

There  are  many  other  weighty  things  treated  on,  which  for  brevity's 
sake  I  shall  omit,  only  give  me  leave  to  acquaint  you  with  a  few^  things 
about  this  ensuing  tract,  and  then  I  shall  draw  to  a  close. 

Fii'st,  That  it  is  the  substance  of  twenty-two  sermons,  preached  by 
me  about  three  years  ago,  on  the  lecture  nights  at  this  place  where 
now  I  preach. 

Secondly,  That  there  are  in  it  several  other  things  of  no  small  con- 
cernment to  your  souls,  that  I  did  not  then  deliver,  but  have  been  given 
in  since,  from  that  fountain  that  fills  all  in  all. 

Thirdly,  That  though  I  have  been  much  pressed  to  print  these 
sermons,  yet  I  should  never  have  yielded,  had  I  not  been  thoroughly 
convinced  and  persuaded  in  my  judgment  and  conscience,  that  they 
may,  by  the  blessing  of  the  Lord  upon  them,  prove  many  ways  useful 
and  serviceable  to  all  those  honest  Nathanaels  into  whose  hands  they 
may  fall,  else  they  had  been  buried  in  the  dark,  and  never  come  to 
public  light.^ 

I  have  only  a  few  requests  to  make  to  you,  and  then  I  shall  take  my 
leave  of  you. 

And  my  first  request  is  this,  that  you  would  meditate  and  dwell  upon 
what  you  read  ;  otherwise  your  pains  (I  say  not  your  souls)  and  mine 
will  be  lost. 

It  is  a  law  among  the  Parsees  in  India,  to  use  premeditation  in  what 
they  are  to  do,  that  if  it  be  bad,  to  reject  it ;  if  good,  to  act  it.  The  ap- 
phcation  is  easy.^  The  more  any  man  is  in  the  contemplation  of  truth, 
the  more  fairer  and  firmer  impression  is  made  upon  his  heart  by  truth, 
1  Humility  is  conservatrix  virtutum,  saith  Bernard :  that  which  keeps  all  graces  together- 
.  .  .  Humihtas  animi,  sublimitas  Christiani.  [Serra. :  on  Canticles,  as  before  —G^ 
toriet  ^^''°'°''  preached  serveth  but  an  auditory,  a  sermon  printed  may  serve  many  audi- 

\  Lectio  sine  meditatione  arida  «st,  meditatio  sine  lectione  erronea  est,  oratio  sine  meditatione 
tepida  est. — Augustine,  finely. 


EPISTLE  DEDICATORY.  5 

Christians  must  be  like  the  clean  beasts,  that  parted  the  hoof  and  chewed 
the  cud  ;  they  must  by  heavenly  meditation  chew  truths  and  concoct 
truths,  or  else  they  will  never  taste  the  sweetness  that  is  in  divine  truths. 

Mary  *  pondered  the  sayings  of  the  shepherds  in  her  heart,'  Luke  ii. 
19.^  Not  they  that  eat  most,  but  they  that  digest  most,  are  the  most 
healthful.  Not  they  that  get  most,  but  they  that  keep  most,  are  richest. 
So  not  they  that  hear  most,  or  read  most,  but  they  that  meditate  most, 
are  most  edified  and  enriched. 

My  second  request  to  you  is  this,  that  you  will  make  conscience  of 
living  out  those  truths  you  read.^ 

To  read  much  and  practise  notliing,  is  to  hunt  much  and  catch 
nothing. 

Suetonius  reports  of  Julius  Caesar,  '  That  seeing  Alexander's  statue, 
he  fetched  a  deep  sigh,  because  he  at  that  age  had  done  so  little.^ 

Ah  !  what  cause  have  most  to  sigh,  that  they  have  heard  so  much, 
and  read  so  much,  and  yet  done  so  little  !  Surely  it  is  more  honourable 
to  do  great  things,  than  to  speak  or  read  great  things  !  It  is  the  doer 
that  will  be  most  happy  at  last,  John  xiii.  17.  In  vitm  libro  scrihuntur 
qui  quod  possunt  faciunt,  etsi  quod  debent,  non  possunt,  they  are 
written  in  the  book  of  life,  that  do  what  good  they  can,  though  they 
cannot  do  as  they  would  [Bernard.]* 

I  have  read  of  a  good  man  coming  from  a  public  lecture,  and  being 
asked  by  one  whether  the  sermon  was  done,  answered,  with  a  sad  sigh, 
'  Ah !  it  is  said,  but  not  done.'^ 

My  thi7'd  request  is  this,  that  you  will  pray  over  what  you  read. 

Many  read  much,  and  pray  little,  and  therefore  get  little  by  all  they 
read. 

Galen  writes  of  a  fish  called  Uranoscopos,  that  hath  but  one  eye, 
and  yet  looks  continually  up  to  heaven.^  When  a  Christian  has  one 
eye  upon  his  book,  the  other  should  be  looking  up  to  heaven  for  a 
blessing  upon  what  he  reads. 

When  one  heard  what  admirable  victories  Scanderbeg's  sword  had 
wrought,  he  would  needs  see  it ;  and  when  he  saw  it,  says  he.  This  is 
but  an  ordinary  sword  ;  alas  !  what  can  this  do  ?  Scanderbeg  sent  him 
word,  I  have  sent  thee  my  sword,  but  I  have  the  arm  that  did  all  by  it. 

Alas  l"^  what  can  Christ's  sword,  Christ's  word,  do  without  his  arm  ? 
Therefore  look  up  to  Christ's  arm  in  prayer,  that  so  his  sword,  his 
word,  may  do  great  things  in  your  souls. 

Luther  professeth  '  that  he  profited  more  by  prayer  in  a  short  space 
than  by  study  in  a  longer ;'  as  John,  by  weeping,  got  the  sealed  book 
open. 

My  fourth  request  to  you  is  this.  That  if,  by  the  blessing  of  the  Lord 
upon  my  weak  endeavours,  any  leaf  or  line  should  drop  myrrh  or  mercy, 

^  Tlie  angels  are  much  in  meditation. 

'■*  Your  actions,  in  passing,  pass  not  away ;  for  every  good  work  is  a  grain  of  seed  for 
eternal  life.  3  HistoricB  Coesarum,  Julius  Ccesar. — G. 

*  It  was  a  saying  of  Augustine,  one  thousand  two  hundred  years  ago,  that  we  must 
take  heed  lest,  whilst  we  fear  our  exhortation  being  cooled,  prayer  be  not  damped,  and 
pride  inflamed. 

^  Philip  Goodwin's  'Evangelical  Communicant'     1649.— G. 

^  See  Index  under  '  Galen'  for  other  references  to  the  ov^avoirxo-ros. — G. 

'  See  Glossary  for  other  uses  of  ♦  alas '  in  this  way,  and  cf.  Sibbes,  sub  voce.—G. 


6  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  RICHES  OF  CHRIST. 

marrow  or  fatness,  upon  your  spirits,  that  you  will  give  all  the  glory  to 
the  God  of  heaven,  for  to  him  alone  it  does  belong. 

Through  grace  I  know  I  am  a  poor  worm  ;  I  am  nothing,  I  have 
nothing  but  what  I  have  received.  The  crown  becomes  no  head  but 
Christ's.  Let  him  who  is  our  all  in  all  have  the  honour  and  the  glory 
of  all,  and  I  have  my  end.^ 

Pliny  tells  of  some  in  the  remote  parts  of  India  that  have  no  mouths, 
and  yet  live  on  the  smell  of  herbs  and  sweet  flowers  ;  but  I  hope  better 
things  of  you,  even  such  as  accompany  salvation.^ 

M.y  fifth  request  to  you  is  this.  That  you  would  let  me  lie  near  your 
hearts,  when  you  are  in  the  mount  especially. 

Oh  pray,  pray  hard  for  me,  that  the  Spirit  of  the  Lord  may  be  re- 
doubled upon  me ;  that  his  word  may  prosper  in  my  mouth ;  that  it 
may  '  run,  and  be  glorified ;'  and  that  I  may  be  high  in  my  communion 
with  God,  and  holy  and  imblameable  in  my  walkings  with  God ;  and 
that  it  may  be  still  day  with  my  soul ;  that  I  may  live  and  die  in  the 
joys  and  comforts  of  the  Holy  Ghost ;  and  that  when  my  sun  is  set,  my 
glass  out,  my  work  done,  my  race  run,  I  may  rest  in  the  everlasting 
arms  of  divine  love,  &c.^ 

My  last  and  least  request  to  you  is  this.  That  you  will  please  to  cast 
a  mantle  of  love  over  the  mistakes  of  the  press,  and  do  me  that  right, 
and  yourselves  the  courtesy,  as,  before  you  read,  to  correct  any  material 
faults  that  you  shall  find  pointed  at  in  the  errata.* 

God's  easy  passing  over  the  many  and  daily  erratas  of  your  lives, 
cannot  but  make  you  so  ingenuous  as  readily  to  pass  over  the  erratas 
in  this  book. 

You  are  choice  jewels  in  my  eye;  you  lie  near  unto  my  heart;  I  am 
willing  to  spend  and  be  spent  for  your  sakes.  My  earnest  and  humble 
desire  is,  that  my  service  and  labour  of  love  may  be  accepted  by  you, 
Horn.  XV.  31,  and  that  it  may  work  much  for  your  internal  and  eternal 
welfare ;  and  that  '  an  abundant  entrance  may  be  administered  to  you ' 
into  the  everlasting  kingdom  of  our  Lord  and  Saviour  Jesus  Christ,' 
2  Pet.  i.  11,  and  i.  8  ;  and  that  you  may  be  filled  '  with  joy  unspeakable 
and  full  of  glory,'  and  with  that  '  peace  that  passes  understanding.' 
This  is,  and  by  grace  shall  be,  the  prayer  of  him  who  desires  to  approve 
himself  faithful  to  Christ,  his  truths,  his  interests,  and  his  people,  and 
wl.o  is  your  souls'  servant  in  all  gospel  engagements. 

Thomas  Brooks. 

'  Ingratitude,  say  some,  is  a  monster  in  nature,  a  solecism  in  manners,  and  a  paradox 
in  grace,  damming  up  the  course  of  donations,  divine  and  human. 

^  See  our  Index  under  Psylli,  as  before.— G. 

3  1  Thes.  V.  25  ;  2  Thes.  iii.  1 ;  Heb.  iii.  18 ;  Col.  iv.  3  ;  Philip,  i.  19  ;  2  Cor.  i.  11  ; 
Acts  xii.  5;  Rev.  xiv.  13. 

*  In  every  pomegranate  there  is  at  least  one  rotten  kernel  to  be  found,  said  Crates  the 
philosopher.    [Suidas,  s.  v.  K^^rt,;  — G.] 


THE  UNSEARCHABLE  RICHES  OF  CHRIST. 


Unto  me,  who  am  less  than  the  least  of  all  saints,  is  this  grace  given, 
that  I  should  preach  among  the  Gentiles  the  unsearchable  riches  of 
Christ.— EvH.  JIl.  8. 

*  Unto  me,  who  am  less  than  the  least  of  all  saints.' 

The  Greek  is  a  comparative  made  of  a  superlative.  '  Less  than  the 
least  of  all  saints,'  is  a  double  diminutive,  and  signifies  lesser  than  the 
least,  if  lesser  might  be.^  Here  you  have  the  greatest  apostle  descending 
down  to  the  lowest  step  of  humility.  Great  Paul  is  least  of  saints,  last 
of  the  apostles,  and  greatest  of  sinners.''  The  choicest  buildings  have 
the  lowest  foundations,  the  best  balsam  sinks  to  the  bottom  ;  those  ears 
of  corn  and  boughs  of  trees  that  are  most  filled  and  best  laden,  bow 
lowest.  So  do  those  souls  that  are  most  loaden  with  the  fruits  of  paradise. 
*  Unto  me  who  am  less  than  the  least  of  all  saints.' 

*  Is  this  grace  given.' 

In  the  Greek,  or  '  was  this  grace  given.'^  The  word  that  is  here  ren- 
dered grace,  is  taken  in  Scripture  not  only  for  the  favour  of  God,  but 
also  for  his  gracious  gifts  ;  and  so  you  are  to  understand  it  in  this  place. 
Grace  is  taken  for  the  gifts  of  grace ;  and  they  are  twofold,  common 
or  special.  Some  are  common  to  believers  and  hypocrites,  as  know- 
ledge, tongues,  a  gift  of  prayer,  &c. ;  some  are  special  and  peculiar  to 
the  saints,  as  fear,  love,  faith,  &c.  Now  Paul  had  all  these,  the  better 
to  fit  him  for  that  high  and  noble  service  to  which  he  was  called. 

'  That  I  should  preach.' 

That  is,  declare  good  news  or  glad  tidings.  The  Greek  word  answers 
to  the  Hebrew  word,  which  signifies  good  news,  glad  tidings,  and  a 
joyful  message.* 

'  That  I  should  preach  among  the  Gentiles.' 

Sometimes  this  Greek  word  is  generally  used  for  all  men,  or  for  all 
nations.     Sometimes  the  word  is  used  more  especially  for  the  people  of 

'  iXa;t;/o-TaTf^«,  minimis simus. — Estius.  [Commentaria  in  omnes  S.  PauH  Epist.,  in  loco. 
2  vols,  folio,  1709.— G.] 

2  Qui  parvus  est  in  reputaiione  propria,  magnus  est  in  reputatione  divina. — Gregory  [Na- 
zianzen].     He  that  is  little  in  his  own  account  is  great  in  God's  esteem. 

^  WoSn  w  x,^^ii  avm.    x.^^^t^"-  ^^  always  taken  in  Scripture  for  a  free  gift,  a  grace  gift 
but  xH^i  ^s  taken  not  only  for  the  favour  of  God,  but  also  for  his  gracious  gifts. 

^  iV>{<7-/y  tuccyyiXifftKr^ut,  Mat.  xxviii.  19  ;  John  xi.  48,  60,  61 ;  Acts  x.  22. 


8  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EpH.  III.  8. 

the  Jews.  Sometimes  it  is  used  for  the  Gentiles  distinguished  from  the 
Jews.  So  it  is  used  Mat.  vi.  32,  'For  after  all  these  things  do  the 
Gentiles  seek.'  And  so  it  is  used  here.  Those  that  are  '  without  God 
in  the  world;  that  stand  in  arms  against  God,  that  are  ignorant  of  those 
riches  of  grace  that  are  in  Christ;  this  grace  is  given  to  me,  that  i 
should  preach  among  the  poor  heathens,  '  the  unsearchable  riches  ot 

Christ ' 

'That  I  might  preach  among  the  Gentiles.'  What,  myself?  No, 
but  *  the  unsearchable  riches  of  Christ'^  .     ,    .    • 

The  Greek  word  signifies,  not  to  be  traced  out.^  Here  is  rhetoric 
indeed  !  Here  is  riches,  unsearchable  riches,  unsearchable  riches  of 
Christ.  Riches  always  imply  two  things  :  1,  abundance  ;  2,  abundance 
of  such  things  as  be  of  worth.  Now  in  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ  is  the 
greatest  riches,  the  best  riches,  the  choicest  riches  ;  in  Christ  are  riches 
of  justification,  Titus  ii.  14  ;  in  Christ  are  riches  of  sanctification,  Philip, 
iv.  12,  13  ;  in  Christ  are  riches  of  consolation,  2  Cor.  xii.  9 ;  and  in 
Christ  are  riches  of  glorification,  1  Pet.  i.  2,  8.  But  of  these  glorious 
unsearchable  riches  of  Christ,  we  shall  speak  hereafter. 

I  shall  begin  at  this  time  with  the  first  words,  *  Unto  me  who  am  less 
than  the  least  of  all  saints.'  There  are  these  two  observations  that 
naturally  flow  from  these  words. 

Ohs.  1.  That  the  most  holy  men  are  always  the  most  humble,  men. 

None  so  humble  on  earth,  as  those  that  live  highest  in  heaven. 

Or  if  you  will,  take  the  observation  thus  : 

That  \hose  that  are  the  most  highly  valued  and  esteemed  of  by  God, 
are  lowest  and  least  in  their  own  esteem. 

'  Unto  me,  who  am  less  than  the  least  of  all  saints,'  &c. 

Obs.  2.  The  second  observation  is, 

That  there  are  weak  saints  as  well  as  strong  ;  little  saints  as  well 
as  great. 

Or  thus. 

All  saints  are  not  of  an  equal  growth  or  stature. 

I.  I  shall  begin  with  the  first  observation,  That  the  most  holy  men 
are  always  the  most  humble  men.  Souls  that  are  the  most  highly 
esteemed  and  valued  by  God,  do  set  the  least  and  lowest  esteem  upon 
themselves.     *  Unto  me  who  am  less  than  the  least  of  all  saints,'  &c. 

In  the  handling  of  this  point,  I  shall  do  these  three  things  : 

I.  I  shall  prove  that  the  most  holy  souls  are  always  the  most  humble 
souls. 

II.  I  shall  shew  you  the  properties  of  souls  truly  humble. 

III.  I  shall  shew  you  the  reasons  why  those  that  are  the  most  highly 
prized  and  esteemed  of  God,  do  set  so  low  a  price  upon  themselves. 

IV.  And  then  the  use. 

I.  For  the  first,  That  this  is  so,  I  shall  give  you  most  clear  proofs,  and 
open  them  to  you. 

*  Ipse  unvs  erit  tibi  omnia,  quia  in  ipso  vno  bono,  bona  sunt  omnia :  one  Christ  will  be  to 
tliee  instead  of  all  things  else,  because  in  hira  are  all  good  things  to  be  found. — A%igustine. 

^  Gal.  i.  16.  anlix^iavrov.  Nec  Christus  nee  ccelum  patitur  hyperbolem,  a  man  cannot 
liyperbolize  in  speaking  of  Christ  and  heaven.  Omne  bonum  in  summo  bono,  all  good  is  in 
the  chiefest  good. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  EICHES  OF  CHRIST.  9 

See  it  in  Job.^  No  man  ever  received  a  fairer  or  a  more  valuable 
certificate  under  the  hand  of  God,  or  the  broad  seal  of  heaven,  for  his 
being  a  soul  famous  in  grace  and  holiness,  than  Job,  as  you  may  see, 
Job  i.  8,  'And  the  Lord  said  unto  Satan,  Hast  thou  considered  my  servant 
Job,  that  there  is  none  like  him  in  the  earth,  a  perfect  and  an  upright 
man,  one  that  feareth  God  and  escheweth  evil  V  And  yet  no  man  could 
speak  more  undervaluingly  of  himself  than  Job  did.     Job  xlii.  5,   6, 

*  I  have  heard  of  thee  by  the  hearing  of  the  ear,  but  now  mine  eye 
seeth  thee,  I  abhor  myself  in  dust  and  ashes.'^  This  expression  is  the 
deepest  act  of  abhorrency.  Abhorrency  strictly  taken,  is  hatred  wound 
up  to  the  height.  *  I  abhor  myself.'  The  word  that  is  rendered  abhor 
signifies  to  reject,  to  disdain,  to  contemn,  and  to  cast  off.^  Ah  !  says 
Job,  I  abhor  myself,  I  reject  myself,  I  disdain  myself,  I  cast  off  myself, 
I  have  a  vile  esteem  of  myself.*  So  our  blessed  apostle,  who  had  been 
'  caught  up  into  the  third  heavens,  and  had  such  glorious  revelations  as 
could  not  be  uttered,"  yet  he  accounted  himself  less  than  the  least  of 
all  saints.^  Not  that  anything  can  be  less  than  the  least ;  the  apostle's 
holy  rhetoric  doth  not  cross  Aristotle's  philosophy ;  but  the  original 
word  being  a  double  diminutive,  his  meaning  is  that  he  was  as  little 
as  could  be  ;  therefore  he  put  himself  down  so  little  as  could  not  be, 
less  than  the  least. 

Another  proof  you  have,  Isa.  vi.  1,  5,  6.  As  Paul  among  the  apostles 
was  the  greatest,  so  Isaiah  among  the  prophets  was  the  clearest  and 
choicest  gospel  preacher,  and  holds  out  more  of  Christ  and  of  his  king- 
dom and  glory,  than  all  the  other  prophets  do.  Isa.  vi.  1,  He  sees  the 
glory  of  the  Lord  in  a  vision,  and  this  makes  him  cry  out,  verse  5,  'Woe  is 
me,  for  I  am  undone,  because  I  am  a  man  of  unclean  lips,  and  I  dwell  in 
the  midst  of  a  people  of  unclean  lips,  for  mine  eyes  have  seen  the  King, 
the  Lord  of  hosts  ;  I  am  undone.'  The  Hebrew  is,  *  I  am  cut  off,'  I  am 
a  forlorn  man  !  Why  ?  *  For  I  have  seen  the  King,  the  Lord  of  hosts.'^ 
Here  you  have  the  highest  and  choicest  among  the  prophets,  as  you 
had  Paul  before  among  the  apostles,  abasing  and  laying  low  himself. 

So  Peter.  Luke  v.  8,  '  Depart  from  me,  for  I  am  a  sinful  man,  O 
Lord.'^  When  he  saw  that  glorious  miracle  wrought  by  the  Lord  Jesus, 
he  cries  out  as  one  very  sensible  of  his  own  weakness  and  sinfulness. 

*  Depart  from  me,  for  I  am  a  sinful  man.'  Ah  !  I  am  not  worthy  to  be 
near  such  majesty  and  glory,  who  am  a  mere  bundle  of  vice  and  vanity, 
of  folly  and  iniquity. 

Take  another  clear  instance  :  Gen.  xviii.  27,  '  And  Abraham  answered 
and  said.  Behold,  I  have  taken  upon  me  to  speak  imto  the  Lord,  who 
am  but  dust  and  ashes.'     Here  you  have  the  father  of  the  faithful,  the 

^  Job  was  a  non-such  in  regard  of  those  perfections  and  degrees  of  grace  that  he  had 
attained  to  beyond  any  other  saints  on  earth. 

2  Job  was  high  in  worth  and  humble  in  heart ;  humilitas  animi,  svblimitas  Chriatiani. 

*  A  me,  me  salva  Domine :  deliver  me,  0  Lord,  from  that  evil  man,  myself. — Augustine, 
[Confessions. — G.] 

^  2  Cor.  xii.  1-7.  Vide  Bezam.  [Nov.  Test.,  Exp.  in  loco.—G.']  cl^^vra  pnfiara,  word- 
less words,  such  as  words  are  too  weak  to  utter. 

^  The  clearest  sight  and  vision  of  God  does  always  give  a  man  the  fullest  sight  of  his 
own  emptiness,  sinfulness,  and  nothingness.     ^n^Dn3"''D,  I  am  cut  off. 

'  'Av^f  af/.a^TuXos,  a  man,  a  sinner,  a  very  mixture  and  compound  of  dirt  and  sin. 


10  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EpH.  III.  8. 

greatest  believer  in  the  world,  accounting  himself  dust  and  ashes.^  Dust 
notes  the  baseness  of  his  original,  and  ashes  notes  his  deserving  to  be 
burnt  to  ashes,  if  God  should  deal  with  him  in  justice  rather  than  m 
mercy.  The  nearer  any  soul  draws  to  God,  the  more  humble  will  that 
soul  lie  before  God.  None  so  near  God  as  the  angels,  nor  none  so 
humble  before  God  as  the  angels.  n    ^^    r. 

So  Jacob,  Gen.  xxxii.  10,  'I  am  not  worthy  of  the  least  o±  all  the 
mercies,  and  all  the  truth  which  thou  hast  shewed  unto  thy  servant/ 
&c.'  Jacob,  a  man  eminent  in  his  prevailing  with  God,  a  prince  that 
had  the  honour  and  the  happiness  to  overcome  the  God  of  mercy,  yet 
judges  himself  unworthy  of  the  least  mercy.  Ah  !  how  low  is  that  soul 
in  his  own  eyes,  that  is  most  honourable  in  God's  eyes  ! 

David,  you  know,  was  a  man  after  God's  own  heart,  1  Kings  xv.  5  ;  a 
man  highly  honoured,  much  beloved,  and  dearly  prized  by  the  Lord ;  yet 
1  Sam.  xxvi.  20,  he  counts  himself  a  flea;  and  what  is  more  contemptible 
than  a  flea  ?  In  Ps.  xxii.  6,  *  I  am  a  worm,'  saith  he,  '  and  no  man.'  The 
word  that  is  there  rendered  woi^m,  is  a  word  that  signifies  a  very  little 
worm  which  breedeth  in  scarlet,  a  worm  that  is  so  little  that  a  man  can 
hardly  see  or  perceive  it.  A  worm  is  the  most  despicable  creature  in 
the  world,  trampled  under  foot  by  every  one.  Says  he,  I  am  a  despi- 
cable worm  in  my  own  eyes,  and  in  my  enemies'  eyes.^ 

And  thus  you  see  the  point  proved,  that  the  most  holy  men  have 
been  always  the  most  humble  men. 

II.  The  second  thing  that  I  am  to  do  is,  to  shew  you  the  properties 
of  humble  souls.  I  confess,  when  I  look  abroad  in  the  world,  and  observe 
the  carriage  of  all  sorts  of  men,  my  heart  is  stirred  to  speak  as  fully  and 
as  home  to  this  point  as  Christ  shall  help  me.  It  is  very  very  sad  to  con- 
sider, how  few  humble  souls  there  be  in  these  days.  Ah  !  the  damnable 
pride  that  reigns  and  rules  in  the  hearts  and  lives  of  most  men.  I 
think  it  is  far  greater  than  hath  been  known  in  the  generations  before 
us.  Ah,  England  !  England  !  what  folly,  what  damnable  wickedness  is 
this,  that  thou  shouldst  be  a-lifting  thyself  up  in  pride,  when  God  is 
a-staining  the  pride  of  all  glory,  and  bringing  into  contempt  the  honour- 
able of  the  earth,  and  a-setting  his  feet  upon  the  neck  of  pride.* 

[1.]  Now  the  first  property  that  I  shall  lay  down  of  an  humble  soul 
is  this : 

An  humble  soul  under  the  highest  spiritual  dicoveries,  and  under 
the  greatest  outward  mercies,  forgets  not  his  former  sinfulness  and  his 
former  outward  meanness.  Paul  had  been  taken  up  into  the  third 
heavens,  and  had  glorious  revelations  and  manifestations  of  God,  2  Cor. 
xii.  1-4  ;  he  cries  out,  '  I  was  a  blasphemer,  a  persecutor,  and  injurious,' 
1  Tim.  i.  13.  Under  the  choicest  discoveries,  he  remembers  his  former 
blasphemies.  So  Rom.  vii.  23,  '  I  see  a  law  in  my  members  warring 
against  the  law  of  my  mind,  and  bringing  me  into  captivity  to  the  law 
of  sin,  which  is  in  my  members.'     He  had  been  at  this  time  about 

•  1DKT  ISy,  gnaphar  vorphar,  dust  and  ashes;  i.e.  base,  vile,  worthless.  Solemnly  think 
that  thou  art  dust  and  ashes,  and  be  proud  if  thou  canst,  Isa.  vi.  1,  2. 

2  D'l'lDnn  7212  TiaiDp,  l  am  less  than  all  mercies,  to  wit,  in  worth  or  weight,  &c. 
'  nypiri'  tolagnath,  an  humble  soul  is  a  little,  little  nothing  in  his  own  eyes. 

*  God  loves  to  hear  this  as  a  parcel  of  his  praise,  parcere  suhjectis  et  debellare  super- 
bos,  to  spare  the  lowly  and  strike  down  the  proud. 


EpH.  Ill  8.]  KICHES  OF  CHRIST.  11 

fourteen  years  converted,  as  some  judge.  He  was  a  man  that  lived  at 
as  high  a  rate  in  God,  as  any  we  read  of ;  a  man  that  was  filled  with 
glorious  discoveries  and  revelations,  and  yet  under  all  discoveries  and 
revelations,  he  remembers  that  body  of  sin  and  death  that  made  him 
cry  out,  *  O  wretched  man  that  I  am,  who  shall  deliver  me  ?'  Who 
shall  ease  me  of  my  burden,  who  shall  knock  off  these  chains  that  make 
my  life  a  hell  ?^  I  will  by  a  few  instances  prove  the  other  branch  : 
Gen.  xxxii.  10,  '  I  am  not  worthy  of  the  least  of  all  the  mercies,'  says 
Jacob,  '  for  with  my  staff  I  passed  over  this  Jordan,  and  now  I  am  be- 
come two  bands/  I  remember,  saith  he,  when  I  went  over  Jordan,  I 
was  as  a  footman  that  carried  all  his  wealth  with  him.  Under  his 
outward  greatness  he  forgets  not  his  former  meanness.  An  humble 
soul  is  good  at  looking  back  upon  his  former  low  estate,  upon  his  thread- 
bare coat  that  was  his  best  and  only  robe.^ 

So  David,  1  Chron.  xvii.  16,  17,  '  And  David  the  king  came  and  sat 
before  the  Lord,  and  said.  What  am  I,  O  Lord  God,  and  what  is  mine 
house,  that  thou  hast  brought  me  hitherto  ?  And  yet  this  was  a  small 
thing  in  thine  eyes,  O  God ;  for  thou  hast  also  spoken  of  thy  servant's 
house  for  a  great  while  to  come,  and  hast  regarded  me  according  to  the 
state  of  a  man  of  high  degree.  Who  am  I,  O  Lord  God,  and  what  is 
mine  house  ?'  David  remembered  the  meanness  of  his  birth  ;  he 
remembered  his  shepherd's  crook,  as  Jacob  did  his  travelling  staff.* 
Mercies  make  an  humble  soul  glad,  but  not  proud.  An  humble  soul  is 
lowest  when  his  mercies  are  highest ;  he  is  least  when  he  is  greatest ; 
he  is  lowest  when  he  is  highest ;  he  is  most  poor  when  he  is  most  rich. 
Nothing  melts  like  mercy,  nothing  draws  like  mercy,  nothing  humbles 
like  mercy.  Mercy  gives  the  humble  soul  such  excellent  counsel,  as 
Plasilla  the  empress  gave  her  husband  Theodosius,  '  Remember,  O 
husband,'  saith  she,  *  what  lately  you  were,  and  what  now  you  are  ;  so 
shall  you  govern  well  the  empire,  and  give  God  his  due  praise  for  so 
great  an  advancement.'*  The  voice  of  mercy  is,  Remember  what  lately 
thou  wert,  and  what  now  thou  art,  and  be  humble.  Now  proud  men 
that  are  lifted  up  from  the  dunghill,  that  abound  in  worldly  wealth, 
ah  !  how  does  their  blood  rise  with  their  outward  good  !  The  more  mer- 
cies they  have,  the  more  proud  they  are  ;  mercies  do  but  puff  and  swell 
such  souls.  In  a  crowd  of  mercies,  they  cry  out  in  the  pride  of  their 
hearts  :  '  Depart  from  us,  O  God,  for  we  desire  not  the  knowledge  of 
thy  ways.  What  is  the  Almighty  that  we  should  serve  him  ?  and  what 
profit  shall  we  have,  if  we  pray  unto  him  f  Ps.  Ixxiii.  3-13  ;  Job  xxi. 
7-16,  xiv.  15. 

[2.]  A  second  property  of  an  humble  soul  is  this.  He  overlooks  his 

'  Clirysostom  observes  it  of  Paul,  as  his  greatest  honour,  that  although  he  had  obtained 
pardon  of  God  for  his  sins,  yet  he  is  not  ashamed  to  reckon  them  up  to  the  world.  The 
spouse  of  Christ,  under  all  the  kisses  and  embraces  of  Christ,  acknowledges  herself  to  be 
black  :  Cant.  i.  2,  5,  compared. 

■■*  Omnia  mea  mecum  porto,  all  my  goods  I  carry  with  me,  said  Bias,  one  of  the  seven 
wise  men  of  Greece.     [-45  before. — G.] 

3  Iphicrates,  that  noble  captain,  cried  out.  From  how  small  to  how  great  an  estate  am 
I  raised!  [Son  of  Timotheus,  a  shoemaker. — G.]  So  does  the  humble  soul,  when  God 
turns  his  brass  into  silver,  his  iron  into  gold,  his  pence  into  pounds.  Agathocles,  who, 
of  a  potter's  son,  was  made  king  of  Sicily,  would  always  be  served  in  earthen  vessels. 
[A.  was  himself  a  '  potter.'— G.] 

*  Rather  Placilla,  sometimes  Flacilla  and  Placidia.     Cf.  Tillemont,  as  before. — G. 


12  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

own  righteousness,  and  lives  upon  the  righteousness  of  another,  to  wit, 
tJieLord  Jesus.    So  the  apostle,  Philip,  iii.  8-10,  overlooks  his  own 
rio-hteousness,  and  lives  wholly  upon  the  righteousness  of  Christ :  *  I 
desire  to  be  found  in  him,'  saith  he,  '  not  having  mine  own  righteous- 
ness.'    Away  with  it,  it  is  dross,  it  is  dung,  it  is  dog's  meat !     It  is  a 
rotten  righteousness,  an  imperfect  righteousness,  a  weak  righteousness, 
'  which  is  of  the  law  ;  but  that  which  is  through  the  faith  of  Christ,  the 
righteousness  which  is  of  God  by  faith,'^  that  is  a  spotless  righteous- 
ness, a  pure  righteousness,  a  complete  righteousness,  an  incomparable 
righteousness ;  and,  therefore,  an  humble  soul  overlooks  his  own  right- 
eousness, and  lives  upon  Christ's  righteousness.     Kemember  this,  all 
the  sighing,  mourning,  sobbing,  and  complaining  in  the  world,  doth  not 
so  undeniably  evidence  a  man  to  be  humble,  as  his  overlooking  his  own 
righteousness,  and  living  really  and  purely  upon  the  righteousness  of 
Christ.     This  is  the  greatest  demonstration  of  humility  that  can  be 
shewn  by  man.  Mat.  vi.  8.     Men  may  do  much,  hear  much,  pray  much, 
fast  much,  and  give  much,  &c.,  and  yet  be  as  proud  as  Lucifer,  as  you 
may  see  in  the  Scribes,  Pharisees,  Mat.  xxiii.,  and  those  in  Isa.  Iviii.  3, 
who  in  the  pride  of  their  hearts  made  an  idol  of  their  own  righteous- 
ness :  '  Wherefore  have  we  fasted,'  say  they,  '  and  thou  seest  it  not  ? 
wherefore  have  we  afflicted  our  souls,  and  thou  takest  no  knowledge  ?' 
Oh !  but  for  a  man  now  to  trample  upon  his  own  righteousness,  and  to  live 
wholly  upon  the  righteousness  of  another,  this  speaks  out  a  man  to  be 
humble  indeed.     There  is  nothing  that  the  heart  of  man  stands  more 
averse  to  than  this,  of  coming  off  from  his  own  righteousness.     Man  is 
a  creature  apt  to  warm  himself  with  the  sparks  of  his  own  fire,  though 
he  doth  lie  down  for  it  in  eternal  sorrow,  Isa.  L  11.     Man  is  naturally 
prone  to  go  about  to  establish  his  own  righteousness,  that  he  might  not 
subject  to  the  righteousness  of  Christ ;  he  will  labour  as  for  life,  to  lift 
up  his  own  righteousness,  and  to  make  a  saviour  of  it,  Eom.  x.  4. 
Ay,  but  an  humble  soul  disclaims  his  own  righteousness  :  *  All  our  right- 
eousness is  as  filthy  rags.'     '  Enter  not  into  judgment  with  thy  servant, 
for  in  thy  sight  shall  no  man  living  be  justified,'  Ps.  cxliii.  2.     So  Job, 
*  Though  I  were  righteous,  yet  I  would  not  answer,  but  I  would  make 
supplication  to  my  judge,'  Job  ix.  15.     Proud  Pharisees  bless  themselves 
in  their  own  righteousness  :  '  I  thank  God  I  am  not  as  this  publican  ;  1 
fast  twice  in  the  week,'  &c.,  Luke  xviii.  11,  12.     Ay,  but  now  a  soul 
truly  humbled  blushes  to  see  his  own  righteousness,  and  glories  in  this, 
that  he  has  the  righteousness  of  Christ  to  live  upon.^     Rev.  iv.  10,  11, 
the  twenty-four  elders  throw  down  their  crowns  at  the  feet  of  Christ. 
By  their  crowns  you  may  understand  their  gifts,  their  excellencies,  their 
righteousness ;  they  throw  down  these  before  Christ's  throne,  to  note 
to  us,  that  they  did  not  put  confidence  in  them,  and  that  Christ  was  the 
crown  of  crowns  and  the  top  of  all  their  royalty  and  glory.     An  humble 
soul  looks  upon  Christ's  righteousness  as  his  only  crown. 

[3.]  Thirdly,  The  lowest  and  the  meanest  good  ivork  is  not  below  an 
humble  sold.     An  humble  David  will  dance  before  the  ark  :  he  enjoyed 

^  Ver.  8,  irKv€ccXa,  dogs'  meat :  i.  e.  coarse  and  contemptible,  Isa.  Ixiv.  6  •  Cant  iv.  2  • 
Rev.  xiv.  5;  Col.  ii.  10. 

2  A  proud  heart  eyes  more  his  seeming  worth  than  his  real  want.  Non  decet  Christia- 
num  m  hac  vita  coronari,  said  the  Christian  soldier. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  13 

SO  much  of  God  in  it,  that  it  caused  him  to  leap  and  dance  before  it ; 
but  Michal  his  wife  despised  him  for  a  fool,  and  counted  him  as  a  simple 
vain  fellow,  looking  upon  his  carriage  as  vain  and  light,  and  not  becom- 
ing the  might,  majesty,  and  glory  of  so  glorious  a  prince.  Well !  says 
this  humble  soul,  if  this  be  to  be  vile,  I  will  be  more  vile. 

Great  Paul,  yet  being  humble  and  low  in  his  own  eyes,  he  can  stoop 
to  do  service  to  the  least  and  meanest  saint.  1  Cor.  ix.  19-21, 'For 
though  I  be  free  from  all  men,  yet  have  I  made  myself  servant  unto  all, 
that  I  might  gain  the  more.  And  unto  the  Jews  I  became  as  a  Jew, 
that  I  might  gain  the  Jews.  To  them  that  are  under  the  law,  as  under 
the  law,  that  I  might  gain  them  that  are  under  the  law.  To  them  that 
are  without  law,  as  without  law,  being  not  without  law  to  God,  but 
under  the  law  to  Christ,  that  I  might  gain  them  that  are  without  law. 
To  the  weak,  became  I  as  weak,  that  I  might  gain  the  weak.  I  am 
made  all  things  to  all  men,  that  I  might  by  all  means  gain  some.'^ 
Here  you  have  an  humble  soul  bowing  and  stooping  to  the  meanest 
saint,  and  the  lowest  services,  that  he  might  win  souls.  So  the  Lord 
Jesus  himself  was  famous  in  this,  John  xiii.  4.  Though  he  was  the 
Lord  of  glory,  and  one  that  thought  it  no  robbery  to  be  equal  with 
God,  one  that  had  all  perfection  and  fulness  in  himself,  yet  the  lowest 
work  is  not  below  this  King  of  kings.  Witness  his  washing  his  dis- 
ciples' feet  and  wiping  them  with  a  towel,  1  Cor.  ii.  8 ;  Philip,  ii.  6 ; 
Col.  i.  19. 

Bonaventure,  though  he  was  born  of  great  parentage,  and  a  great 
scholar,  yet  to  keep  his  mind  from  swelling,  he  would  often  sweep  rooms, 
wash  vessels,  and  make  beds. 

So  that  famous  Italian  marquess,^  when  God  was  pleased  by  the  ministry 
of  his  word  to  convert  him,  the  lowest  work  was  not  below  him.  Though 
he  might  have  lived  like  a  king  in  his  own  country,  yet  having  tasted 
of  that  life  and  sweet  that  was  in  Jesus,  he  was  so  humble  that  he  would 
go  to  market,  and  carry  home  the  meanest  and  the  poorest  things  the 
market  yielded.  There  was  nothing  below  him,  when  God  had  changed 
him,  and  humbled  him.^ 

It  was  recorded  to  the  glory  of  some  ancient  generals,  that  they  were 
able  to  call  every  common  soldier  by  his  own  name,  and  were  careful  to 
provide  money,  not  only  for  their  captains  and  soldiers,  but  litter  also 
for  the  meanest  beast.*  There  is  not  the  lowest  good  that  is  below  the 
humble  soul.  If  the  work  be  good,  though  never  so  low,  humility  will 
put  a  hand  to  it ;  so  will  not  pride. 

1  Ver.  19.  xi^Tiffu  signifies  to  gain  with  joy  and  delight  of  heart.  Ah,  says  Paul,  it  is 
my  greatest  joy,  my  greatest  delight,  to  gain  souls  to  Christ.  The  word  also  signifies 
craft,  or  guile  Ah !  humble  Paul  will  use  a  holy  craft,  a  holy  guile,  to  win  souls.  To 
know  the  art  of  alms  is  greater  than  to  be  crowned  with  the  diadem  of  kings,  and  yet  to 
convert  one  soul  is  greater  than  to  pour  out  ten  thousand  talents  into  the  baskets  of  the 
poor. — Chrysostom. 

2  Galeacius  Carraciolus,  as  before.    Cf.  Sibbes,  vol.  i.  pp  184,  289,  seq. — G. 

3  Proud  hearts  cannot  stoop  to  low  services  ;  they  say  this  work  and  that  is  below  their 
parts,  place,  parentage,  and  employments. 

*  Cirius  [Cyrus?]  and  Scipio.  These  heathens  will  rise  in  judgment  against  many 
proud  professors  in  these  days,  who  scorn  to  stoop  to  mean  services,  &c.  Veniat,  veniat 
verbum  Domini,  et  submittemus  illi  sexcenta  etsi  nobis  essent  colla,  said  Baldassar,  a  German 
minister.  So  it  is  with  all  that  are  high  in  worth  and  humble  in  heart.  Lev.  x.  2,  3, 
God  will  be  sanctified  either  actively  or  passively  ;  aut  a  nobis  aut  in  nos,  either  in  us  or 
upon  us. 


14  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EpH.  III.  8. 

[4.]  A  fourtli  property  of  an  humble  heart  is  this,  An  humble  heaH 
will  submit  to  every  truth  of  God,  that  is  made  known  to  it ;  even  to 
those  divine  truths  that  are  most  cross  to  flesh  and  blood.  1  Sam.  iii. 
17,  Eli  would  fain  know  what  God  had  discovered  to  Samuel  concerning 
him  ;  Samuel  tells  him  that  he  must  break  his  neck,  that  the  priesthood 
must  be  taken  away  from  him,  and  his  sons  must  be  slain  in  the  war  ; 
why  '  it  is  the  Lord,'  saith  he,  '  let  him  do  what  seemeth  him  good.'  So 
in  Lev.  x.  3,  the  Lord  by  fire  from  heaven  destroys  Aaron's  two  sons. 
'  Then  Moses  said  unto  Aaron,  This  is  that  the  Lord  spake,  saying,  I 
will  be  sanctified  in  them  that  come  nigh  me,  and  before  all  the  people 
I  will  be  glorified  ;  and  Aaron  held  his  peace.'  If  God  miss  of  his  honour 
one  way,  he  will  rain  hell  out  of  heaven,  but  he  will  have  it  another 
way.  This  Aaron  knew,  and  therefore  he  held  his  peace,  when  God 
shewed  himself  to  be  *  a  consuming  fire.'  The  Hebrew  word^  that  is  here 
rendered  peace,  signifies  the  quietness  and  silence  of  his  mind.  He  did 
not  hold  his  tongue  only,  for  many  a  man  may  hold  his  tongue,  and  yet 
his  mind  and  heart  may  kick  and  swell  against  God,  but  his  very  mind 
was  quiet  and  still ;  there  was  a  heavenly  calm  in  his  spirit ;  he  was 
dumb  and  silent,  because  the  Lord  had  done  it.  So  in  Acts  x.  83,  '  We 
are  all  here  present  before  God,  to  hear  all  things  that  are  commanded 
thee  of  God.'  We  are  not  here  to  hear  what  may  tickle  our  ears,  or 
please  our  fancies,  or  satisfy  our  lusts.  No  ;  but  we  are  here  to  hear 
what  God  will  say.  Our  hearts  stand  ready  pressed  to  subject  them- 
selves to  whatever  God  shall  declare  to  be  his  will.  We  are  willing  to 
hear  what  we  may  do,  that  we  may  obey  sincerely  and  universally  the 
good  pleasure  of  our  God,  knowing  that  it  is  as  well  our  dignity  as  our 
duty  so  to  do. 

There  are  three  things  in  an  humble  soul  that  do  strongly  incline  it 
to  duty. 

The^rs^  is  divine  love. 

The  second  is  divine  presence. 

The  third  is  divine  glory. 

The  dove  made  use  of  her  wings  to  fly  to  the  ark  ;  so  doth  an  humble 
soul  of  his  duties  to  fly  to  Christ.  Though  the  dove  did  use  her  wings, 
yet  she  did  not  trust  in  her  wings,  but  in  the  ark.  So  though  an  humble 
soul  does  use  duties,  yet  he  does  not  trust  in  his  duties,  but  in  his 
Jesus.  But  now  proud  hearts  they  hate  the  truth,  they  cry  out,  '  Who 
is  the  Lord,  that  we  should  obey  him  V  And  what  are  his  command- 
ments, that  we  should  submit  to  them  ?  Ay,  but  an  humble  soul  falls 
under  the  power  of  truth,  and  counts  it  his  greatest  ^lorv  to  be  obedient 
to  all  truth.  "^     -^ 

[5.]  A  fifth  property  of  an  humble  soul  is  this:  An  humble  soul  lives 
not  upon  himself,  nor  upon  his  own  actings,  but  upon  the  Lord  Jesus, 

'  °^'V  The  word  often  signifies  a  modest  quietness  of  mind,  the  troubled  affec- 
tions being  allayed  ;  so  here.  In  Lam  iii.  27-29  it  signifies  to  submit  unto  God,  and  to 
be  patient  in  affliction  ;  and  so  it  may  be  taken  here.     Nunquam  nimis  dicitur,  quid  nun- 

MxMv  ^^\%^2     ,^fenda  plura,  the  Christian  soldier  must  do  many  things,  and  suffer 

tl;Ji  ZT^.  n  Z^'-'^  "^^l'  ^'^'''''  P""'"'  ^'"^'^  '''^  «^^^  desccndU,  he  is  more 
in  heaven  than  in  earth  this  is  much  more  true  of  humble,  holy  souls.  fSeneca  •  De 
ConstanhaSapimhs.~G.-\  Dnlce  mmen  CAns^«,  sweet  is  the  name  of  Christ  Chr"^t 
S::"  medS!"'  ''  '"'  '""  °'  *'^  ""°^"^^^'  ^^^^-  ^^-^-  12,  which  w"re  bc^h"ox 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  15 

and  his  actings.  Poor  men,  you  know,  they  do  not  live  upon  them- 
selves, they  live  upon  others  ;  they  live  upon  the  care  of  others,  the  love . 
of  others,  the  provision  of  others.  Why !  thus  an  humble  soul  lives 
upon  the  care  of  Christ,  the  love  of  Christ,  the  promise  of  Christ,  the 
faithfulness  of  Christ,  the  discoveries  of  Christ.  He  lives  upon  Christ 
for  his  justification,  Philip,  iii.  7-10  ;  he  lives  upon  Christ  for  his  sanc- 
tification.  Cant.  iv.  16,  *  Awake,  O  north  wind,  and  come  thou  south, 
blow  upon  my  garden,  that  the  spices  thereof  may  flow  out  ;'  and  he 
lives  upon  Christ  for  his  consolation  :  Cant.  ii.  3,  *  As  the  apple-tree 
among  the  trees  of  the  wood,  so  is  my  beloved  among  the  sons.  I  sat 
down  under  his  shadow  with  great  delight,  and  his  fruit  was  sweet  to  my 
taste  ;'  and  he  lives  upon  Christ  for  the  performance  of  all  holy  actions  : 
Philip,  iv.  13,  '  I  can  do  all  things  through  Christ  which  strength eneth 
me  ;'  Gal.  ii.  20,  *  I  live,  yet  not  I,  but  Christ  lives  in  me ;  and  the  life 
which  I  now  live  in  the  flesh,  I  live  by  the  faith  of  the  Son  of  God,  who 
loved  me,  and  gave  himself  for  me."  An  humble  soul  sees  in  Christ^  a 
fulness  of  abundance,  and  a  fulness  of  redundancy,  and  here  his  soul 
lives  and  feeds.  An  humble  soul  sees  that  all  his  stock  is  in  the  hands 
of  Christ.  His  stock  of  graces,  his  stock  of  comforts,  his  stock  of  expe- 
riences are  in  the  hands  of  Jesus  Christ,  who  is  thegreatLord-keeperof  all 
a  believer's  graces,  and  of  all  his  comforts  ;  and  therefore,  as  children  live 
upon  them  in  whose  hand  their  stock  is,  be  it  a  brother  or  a  friend, 
why,  so  an  humble  soul  sees  its  stock  is  in  the  hand  of  the  Lord 
Jesus,  and  therefore  he  lives  upon  Christ,  upon  his  love,  and  his  pro- 
vision, and  his  undertakings,  &c.  But  now  proud  hearts  live  not  upon 
the  Lord  Jesus  Christ ;  they  live  upon  themselves,  and  upon  their  own 
duties,  their  own  righteousness,  their  own  actings,  as  the  Scripture 
evidences.  Christ  dwells  in  that  heart  most  eminently  that  hath 
emptied  itself  of  itself,  ^hrist  is  the  humble  man's  manna,  upon  which 
he  lives,  and  by  which  he  thrives,  Isa.  Iviii.  2,  7;  Luke  vii.  47. 

[6.]  A  sixth  property  of  an  humble  soul  is  this.  He  judges  himself  to 
he  belovj  the  wrath  and  judgments  of  God^  An  humble  soul  looks  upon 
himself  as  one  not  worthy  that  God  should  spend  a  rod  upon  him,  in 
order  to  his  reformation,  edification,  or  salvation.  As  I  am  unworthy, 
saith  an  humble  soul,  that  God  should  smile  upon  me,  so  I  am  unworthy 
that  he  should  spend  a  frown  upon  me.  Job  xiii.  25,  'Wilt  thou  break 
a  leaf  driven  to  and  fro  ?  And  wilt  thou  pursue  the  dry  stubble  ?'  Why, 
I  am  but  a  leaf,  I  am  but  a  little  dry  stubble,  I  am  below  thy  wrath  ;  I 
am  so  very,  very  bad,  that  I  wonder  that  thou  shouldst  so  much  as 
spend  a  rod  upon  me.  What  more  weak,  worthless,  slight,  and  con- 
temptible than  a  leaf,  than  dry  stubble  ?  Why,  Lord,  says  Job,  I  am  a 
poor,  weak,  and  worthless  creature,  I  wonder  that  thou  shouldst  take 
any  pains  to  do  me  good,  I  can't  but  count  and  call  everything  a  mercy 
that  is  less  than  hell. 

So  David,  in  1  Sam.  xxiv.  14,  'After  whom  is  the  King  of  Israel  come 

*  Plenitudo  abundanticB  and  plenitudo  redundantice.  Omne  bonum  in  summo  bono,  all 
good  is  in  the  chiefest  good.  Christ  is  quicquid  appeiibile,  as  Origen  speaks,  whatever 
we  can  desire. 

*  A  proud  heart  resists,  and  is  resisted  :  this  is  duro  durum,  flint  to  flint,  fire  to  fire. 
An  humble  soul  blesses  God  as  well  for  crosses  as  mercies,  as  well  for  adversity  as  for 
prosperity,  as  well  for  frowns  as  for  smiles,  &c.,  because  he  judges  himself  unworthy  of 
the  least  rebukes  from  God. 


IQ  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

out  ?  After  whom  dost  thou  pursue  ?  After  a  dead  dog,  after  a  flea.' 
The  lano-uage  of  an  humble  soul,  when  God  begms  to  be  angry,  is  this  : 
Lord,  I'can  bless  thee  that  thou  wilt  take  any  pams  with  me ;  but  I 
humbly  acknowledge  that  I  am  below  the  least  rod,  I  am  not  worthy 
that  thou  shouldst  frown  upon  me,  threaten  me,  strike  me,  or  whip  me, 
for  my  internal  and  eternal  good.  But  proud  hearts  think  themselves 
wronged  when  they  are,  afflicted,  they  cry  out  with  Cain,  /  Our  punish- 
ment is  greater  than  we  can  bear,'  Gen.  iv.  13. 

[7.]  A  seventh  property  of  an  humble  soul  is  this,  An  humble  soul 
doth  highly  prize  the  least  of  Christ.  The  least  smile,  the  least  good 
word,  the  least  good  look,  the  least  truth,  the  least  mercy,  is  highly 
valued  by  an  humble  soul. 

The  Canaanitish  woman  in  the  fifteenth  of  Matthew  sets  a  high  price 
upon  a  crumb  of  mercy.^  Ah,  Lord,  says  the  humble  soul,  if  T  may  not 
have  a  loaf  of  mercy,  give  me  a  piece  of  mercy ;  if  not  a  piece  of  mercy, 
give  me  a  crumb  of  mercy.  If  I  may  not  have  sun-light,  let  me  have 
moon-light;  if  not  moon-light,  let  me  have  star-light;  if  not  star-light, 
let  me  have  candle-light ;  and  for  that  I  will  bless  thee. 

In  the  time  of  the  law,  the  meanest  things  that  w^ere  consecrated 
were  very  highly  prized,  as  leather  or  wood,  that  was  in  the  tabernacle. 
An  humble  soul  looks  upon  all  the  things  of  God  as  consecrated  things. 
Every  truth  of  God  is  a  consecrated  truth ;  it  is  consecrated  to  holy 
use,  and  this  causes  the  soul  highly  to  prize  it ;  and  so  every  smile  of 
God,  and  every  discovery  of  God,  and  every  drop  of  mercy  from  God,  is 
very  highly  prized  by  a  soul  that  walks  humbly  with  God.  The  name 
of  Christ,  the  voice  of  Christ,  the  footsteps  of  Christ,  the  least  touch  of 
the  garment  of  Christ,  the  least-regarded  truth  of  Christ,  the  meanest 
and  least-regarded  among  the  flock  of  Christ,  is  highly  prized  by  humble 
souls  that  are  interested  in  Christ,  Song  i.  3 ;  John  x.  4,  5 ;  Ps.  xxvii.  4 ; 
Mat.  ix.  20,  21 ;  Acts  xxiv.  14 ;  1  Cor.  ix.  22.  An  humble  soul  cannot, 
an  humble  soul  dares  not,  call  anything  little  that  has  Christ  in  it ; 
neither  can  an  humble  soul  call  or  count  anything  great  wherein  he 
sees  not  Christ,  wherein  he  enjoys  not  Christ.^  An  humble  soul  highly 
prizes  the  least  nod,  the  least  love-token,  the  least  courtesy  from  Christ ; 
but  proud  hearts  count  great  mercies  small  mercies,  and  small  mercies 
no  mercies ;  yea,  pride  does  so  unman  them,  that  they  often  call  mercy 
misery,  &c. 

[8.]  The  eighth  property  of  an  humble  soul  is  this.  It  can  never  be 
good  enough,  it  can  never  pray  enough,  nor  hear  enough,  nor  mourn 
enough,  nor  believe  enough,  nor  love  enough,  nor  fear  enough,  nor  joy 
enough,  nor  repent  enough,  nor  loathe  sin  enough,  nor  be  humble 
enough,  &c. 

Humble  Paul  looks  upon  his  great  all  as  nothing  at  all ;  he  forgets 
those  things  that  are  behind,  and  reaches  forth  to  those  things  which 
are  before,  *  that  if  by  any  means  he  might  attain  unto  the  resurrection 
of  the  dead,'  Philip,  iii.  11-14  ;  that  is,  that  perfection  of  holiness  which 

1  Ver.  27.  Faith  will  pick  an  argument  out  of  a  repulse,  and  turn  discouragements 
into  encouragements.  Luther  would  not  take  all  the  world  for  one  leaf  of  the  Bible ;  such 
a  j)rice  he  set  upon  it,  from  the  sweet  that  he  found  in  it. 

'  Austin  loved  Tully  before  his  conversion,  but  not  so  much  after,  quia  nomen  Jesu  non 
erat  ibi,  because  the  name  of  Christ  was  not  there.    [Confessions,  b.  iii.,  iv.  7. G.l 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  17 

the  dead  shall  attain  unto  in  the  morning  of  the  resurrection,  by  a 
metonymy  of  the  subject  for  the  adjunct.^ 

No  holiness  below  that  matchless,  peerless,  spotless,  perfect  holiness 
that  saints  shall  have  in  the  glorious  day  of  Christ's  appearing,  will 
satisfy  the  humble  soul.  An  humble  heart  is  an  aspiring  heart ;  he 
cannot  be  contented  to  get  up  some  rounds  in  Jacob's  ladder,  but  he  must 
get  to  the  very  top  of  the  ladder,  to  the  very  top  of  holiness.  An  humble 
heart  cannot  be  satisfied  with  so  much  grace  as  will  bring  him  to  glory, 
with  so  much  of  heaven  as  will  keep  him  from  dropping  into  hell;  he 
is  still  crying  out.  Give,  Lord,  give ;  give  me  more  of  thyself,  more  of 
thy  Son,  more  of  thy  Spirit;  give  me  more  light,  more  life,  more  love, 
&c.  Csesar  in  warlike  matters  minded  more  what  was  to  conquer  than 
what  was  conquered ;  what  was  to  gain  than  what  was  gained.  So  does 
an  humble  soul  mind  more  what  he  should  be  than  what  he  is,  what  is 
to  be  done  than  what  is  done.  Verily  heaven  is  for  that  man,  and  that 
man  is  for  heaven,  that  sets  up  for  his  mark  the  perfection  of  holiness. 
Poor  men  are  full  of  desires ;  they  are  often  a-sighing  it  out.  Oh  that  we 
had  bread  to  strengthen  us,  drink  to  refresh  us,  clothes  to  cover  us, 
friends  to  visit  us,  and  houses  to  shelter  us,  &c. ;  so  souls  that  are  spi- 
ritually poor  they  are  often  a-sighing  it  out,  Oh  that  we  had  more  of 
Christ  to  strengthen  us,  more  of  Christ  to  refresh  us,  more  of  Christ  to 
be  a  covering  and  shelter  to  us,  &c.  I  had  rather,  says  the  humble 
soul,  be  a  poor  man  and  a  rich  Christian,  than  a  rich  man  and  a  poor 
Christian.  Lord,  says  the  humble  soul,  I  had  rather  do  anything,  I  had 
rather  bear  anything,  I  had  rather  be  anything,  than  to  be  a  dwarf  in 
grace.  Rev.  iii.  17,  Isa.  Ixv.  5,  Luke  xviii.  11,  12.  The  light  and  glory 
of  humble  Christians  rises  by  degrees:  Cant.  vi.  1,  (1.)  Looking  forth 
as  the  morning,  with  a  little  light ;  (2.)  Fair  as  the  moon,  more  light ; 
(3.)  Clear  as  the  sun,  i.e.  come  up  to  a  higher  degree  of  spiritual  light, 
life,  and  glory.  Lord,  says  the  humble  soul,  give  me  much  grace,  and 
then  a  little  gold  will  serve  my  turn ;  give  me  much  of  heaven,  and  little 
of  earth  will  content  me ;  give  me  much  of  the  springs  above,  and  a 
little  of  the  springs  below  will  satisfy  me,  &c. 

[9.]  The  ninth  property  of  an  humble  soul  is  this.  It  will  smite 
and  strike  for  small  sins  as  well  as  for  great,  for  those  the  world  count 
no  sin,  as  well  as  for  those  that  they  count  gross  sins. 

When  David  had  but  cut  off  the  lap  of  Saul's  garment,  his  heart 
smote  him  as  if  he  had  cut  off  his  head.  The  Hebrew  word  signifies 
to  smite,  wound,  or  chastise.^  Ah!  his  heart  struck  him,  his  heart 
chastised  him,  his  heart  wounded  him  for  cutting  off  Saul's  skirt, 
though  he  did  it  upon  noble  grounds,  viz.,  to  convince  Saul  of  his 
false  jealousies,  and  to  evidence  his  own  innocency  and  integrity:  and 

^  iTixrinifAivoi ;  it  signifies  the  straining  of  the  whole  body,  a  stretching  out  head  and 
hands,  as  runners  in  a  race  do  to  lay  hold  on  the  mark  or  prize  proposed,  Ps.  x.  17.  De- 
sires, laavath,  from  Avah,  that  signifies  so  to  desire  and  long  after  a  thing  as  to  have  one's 
teeth  water  at  it ;  so  in  Micah  vii.  1.  But  proud  hearts  sit  down  and  pride  themselves, 
and  bless  themselves,  as  if  they  had  attained  to  much,  when  they  have  attained  to  nothing 
that  can  raise  them  above  the  lowest  step  of  misery. 

2  1  Sam.  xxiv.  5,  y].    A  good  man's  heart,  when  kindly  awakened,  may  smite  him 
for  those  actions  that  at  first  he  judged  very  prudent  and  politic.     How  great  a  pain, 
not  to  be  borne,  comes  from  the  prick  of  this  small  thorn  !     Little  sins  have  put  several 
to  their  wits'  ends,  when  they  have  been  set  home  upon  their  consciences, 
VOL.  in.  -^  B 


13  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

SO  at  another  time,  his  heart  smote  him  for  numbering  the  people,  as 
if  he  had  murdered  the  people-  2  Sam.  xxiv.  10,  'And  David's  heart 
smote  him,  after  that  he  had  numbered  the  people;  and  David  said  unto 
the  Lord,  1  have  sinned  greatly  in  that  I  have  done :  and  now  I  be- 
seech thee,  0  Lord,  take  away  the  iniquity  of  thy  servant,  for  I  have 
done  very  foolishly.'  An  humble  soul  knows  that  little  sins,  if  I  may 
so  call  any,  cost  Christ  his  blood,  and  that  they  make  way  for  greater; 
and  that  little  sins  multiplied  become  great,  as  a  little  sum  multipHed 
is  great ;  that  they  cloud  the  face  of  God,  wound  conscience,  grieve  the 
Spirit,  rejoice  Satan,  and  make  work  for  repentance,  &c.  An  humble 
soul  knows  that  little  sins,  suppose  them  so,  are  very  dangerous  ;  a  little 
leaven  leaveneth  the  whole  lump;  a  little  staff  naay  kill  one;  a  little 
poison  may  poison  one ;  a  little  leak  in  a  ship  sinks  it ;  a  little  fly  in 
the  box  of  ointment  spoils  it;  a  little  flaw  in  a  good  cause  mars  it;  so  a 
little  sin  may  at  once  bar  the  door  of  heaven  and  open  the  gates  of  hell ; 
and  therefore  an  humble  soul  smites  and  strikes  itself  for  the  least  as 
well  as  the  greatest.  Though  a  head  of  garlic  be  little,  yet  it  will  poison 
the  leopard,  though  he  be  great.  Though  a  mouse  is  but  little,  yet  it 
will  kill  an  elephant,  if  he  gets  up  into  his  trunk.  Though  the  scorpion 
be  Httle,  yet  it  will  sting  a  lion  to  death ;  and  so  will  the  least  sin,  if 
not  pardoned  by  the  death  of  Christ. 

A  proud  heart  counts  great  sins  small,  and  small  sins  no  sins,  and  so 
disarms  conscience  for  a  time  of  its  whipping  and  wounding  power  ; 
but  at  death,  or  in  hell,  conscience  will  take  up  an  iron  rod,  with  which 
it  will  lash  the  sinner  for  ever ;  and  then,  though  too  late,  the  sinner 
shall  acknowledge  his  little  sins  to  be  very  great,  and  his  great  sins  to 
be  exceeding  grievous  and  odious,  &c. 

[10.]  The  tenth  property  of  an  humble  soul  is  this,  It  will  quietly 
bear  burdens,  and  patiently  take  blows  and  knocks,  and  make  no 
noise.  An  humble  soul  sees  God  through  man ;  he  sees  God  through 
all  the  actions  and  carriages  of  men :  *  I  was  dumb,'  saith  the  prophet, 
'  I  opened  not  my  mouth,  because  thou  didst  it.'  ^  An  humble  soul 
looks  through  secondary  causes,  and  sees  the  hand  of  God,  and  then 
lays  his  own  hand  upon  his  mouth.  An  humble  soul  is  a  mute  soul,  a 
tongue-tied,  soul,  when  he  looks  through  secondary  causes  to  the  supreme 
cause.  So  Aaron,  when  he  saw  his  sons  suddenly  surprised  by  a  dread- 
ful and  doleful  death,  he  held  his  peace,  he  bridled  his  passions;  he  sits 
silent  under  a  terrible  stroke  of  divine  justice,  because  the  fire  that 
devoured  them  went  out  from  the  Lord.  So  when  Samuel  had  told  Eli 
that  God  would  judge  his  house  for  ever,  and  that  he  had  sworn  that 
the  iniquity  of  his  house  should  not  be  purged  with  sacrifice  nor  offering 
for  ever,  &c.,  '  It  is  the  Lord,"  says  Eli,  '  let  him  do  what  seemeth  him 
good.'  Eli  humbly  and  patiently  lays  his  neck  upon  the  block ;  it  is 
the  Lord;  let  him  strike,  let  him  kill,  &c.,  says  Eli,  ]  Sam.  iii.  11,  18. 

So  David,  when  Shimei  manifested  his  desperate  fury  and  folly,  malice 
and  madness,  in  raving  and  raging  at  him,  in  cursing  and  reproaching 
of  him,  says  he,  '  Let  him  alone,  and  let  him  curse,  for  the  Lord  hath 
bidden  him,'  2  Sam.  xvi.  5,  14.     God,  says  he,  will,  by  his  wise  provi- 

'  Ps.  xxxix.  9,  ^nO'PNi,  from  alam,  which  signifies  to  be  mute,  or  tongue-tied.  Lev.  x. 
1-3,  vaiidem  from  Damd,  which  signifies  the  quietness  of  the  mind,  the  troubled  afi'ec- 
tions  being  allayed. 


EpH.  hi.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  19 

dence,  turn  his  cursing  into  blessing.  I  see  the  justice  of  God  in  his 
cursing,  therefore  let  him  alone,  let  him  curse,  says  David.  ^ 

Cassianus  reports,  that  when  a  certain  Christian  was  held  captive  by 
the  infidels,  and  tormented  by  divers  pains  and  ignominious  taunts, 
being  demanded,  by  way  of  scorn  and  reproach,  Tell  us  what  Christ  has 
done  for  you,  answered,  He  hath  done  what  you  see,  that  I  am  not 
moved  at  all  the  cruelties  and  contumelies  you  cast  upon  me.^ 

So  that  blessed  martyr,  Gyles  of  Brussels,  when  the  friars,  sent  to 
reduce  him,  did  at  any  time  miscall  him,  he  ever  held  his  peace,  inso- 
much that  those  wretches  would  say  abroad  that  he  had  a  dumb  devil 
in  him.^  Full  vessels  will  bear  many  a  knock,  many  a  stroke,  and  yet 
make  no  noise.  So  Christians  that  are  full  of  Christ,  that  are  full  of 
the  Spirit,  will  bear  many  a  knock,  many  a  stroke,  and  yet  make  no 
noise. 

An  humble  soul  may  groan  under  afflictions,  but  he  will  not  grumble 
in  calms.  Proud  hearts  discourse  of  patience,  but  in  storms  humble 
hearts  exercise  patience.  Philosophers  have  much  commended  it,  but 
in  the  hour  of  darkness  it  is  the  humble  soul  that  acts  it.  I  am 
afflicted,  says  the  humble  soul,  but  it  is  mercy  I  am  not  destroyed.  I 
am  fallen  into  the  pit ;  it  is  free  grace  I  am  not  fallen  into  hell.  God 
is  too  just  to  wrong  me,  and  too  gracious  to  harm  me  ;  and  therefore  I 
will  be  still  and  quiet,  let  him  do  what  he  will  with  me,  says  the  humble 
soul.  But  proud  souls  resist  when  they  are  resisted,  they  strike  when 
they  are  stricken,  Isa.  Iviii.  1-3  :  '  Who  is  the  Lord,'  says  lofty  Pharaoh, 
'  that  I  should  obey  him  ?'  and  Cain  cries  out,  '  My  punishment  is 
greater  than  I  am  able  to  bear/  Well !  remember  this  :  though  it  be 
not  easy  in  afflictions  and  tribulations  to  hold  our  peace,  yet  it  is  very 
advantageous ;  which  the  heathens  seemed  to  imitate  in  placing  the 
image  of  Angerona  [goddess  of  silence],  with  the  mouth  bound  upon 
the  altar  of  Volupia  [of  pleasure],  to  shew  that  those  that  do  prudently 
and  humbly  conceal  their  sorrows  and  anxieties  by  patience,  shall  attain 
comfort  and  refreshment.'* 

[11.]  The  eleventh  property  of  an  humble  soul  is  this:  in  all  religious 
duties  and  services,  he  trades  with  God  upon  the  credit  of  Christ^ 
Lord,  says  the  humble  soul,  I  need  power  against  such  and  such  sins  : 
give  it  me  upon  the  credit  of  Christ's  blood.  I  need  strength  to  such 
and  such  services  :  give  it  me  upon  the  credit  of  Christ's  word.  I  need 
such  and  such  mercies  for  the  cheering,  refreshing,  quickening,  and 
strengthening  of  me :  give  them  into  my  bosom  upon  the  credit  of 
Christ's  intercession.  As  a  poor  man  lives  and  deals  upon  the  credits 
of  others,  so  does  an  humble  soul  live  and  deal  with  God  for  the  strength- 
ening of  every  grace,  and  for  the  supply  of  every  mercy,  upon  the  credit 

^  Gallesius  observes  upon  Exod.  xxli.  28,  the  exceeding  patience  of  those  three  em- 
perors, Theodosius,  Honorius,  and  Arcadius,  towards  those  that  spoke  evil  of  them.  [Qu. 
'Gallasius?'— G.] 

2  [Foxe.]    Acts  et  Mon.  fol.  811.     [By  Townsend,  sub  nomine.— G.] 

3  By  long  soothing  our  own  wills,  we  have  forsaken,  as  Cassian  saith,  the  very  shadow 
of  patience.     [Voes  and  Esch,  not  Gyles.     Foxe,  as  above,  vol.  iv.  349-50. — G.] 

*  Non  sic  Deos  coluimus  aut  sic  viximus,  ut  ille  nos  vinceret,  said  the  emperor  [Marcus  A.] 
Antoninus  Philosophus,     ['  Meditations.' — G.] 

^  John  xiv.  13,  and  xv.  16,  and  xvi.  *2Z,  26.  The  name  of  Jesus  hath  a  thousand 
treasures  of  joy  and  comfort  in  it,  saith  Chrysostom ;  and  is  therefore  used  by  Paul  five 
hundred  times,  as  some  have  reckoned. 


20  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EpH.  III.  8. 

of  the  Lord  Jesus.  An  humble  soul  knows  that  since  he  broke  with 
God  in  innocency,  God  will  trust  him  no  more,  he  will  take  his  word  no 
more  ;  and  therefore  when  he  goes  to  God  for  mercy,  he  brings  his  Ben- 
jamin, his  Jesus,  in  his  armvS,  and  pleads  for  mercy  upon  the  account  of 
Jesus. 

Plutarch  reports  that  it  was  wont  to  be  the  way  of  the  Molossians, 
when  they  would  seek  the  favour  of  their  prince,  they  took  up  the  king's 
son  in  their  arms,  and  so  went  and  kneeled  before  the  king,  and  by  this 
means  overcame  him.'^  So  do  humble  souls  make  a  conquest  upon  God 
with  Christ  in  their  arms.  The  Father  will  not  give  that  soul  the 
repulse  that  brings  Christ  in  his  arms.'^  The  humble  soul  knows  that 
God  out  of  Christ  is  incommunicable,  that  God  out  of  Christ  is  incom- 
prehensible, that  God  out  of  Christ  is  very  terrible,  and  that  God  out  of 
Christ  is  inaccessible  ;  and  therefore  he  still  brings  Christ  with  him,  and 
presents  all  his  requests  in  his  name,  and  so  prevails,  &c.  Oh !  but 
proud  souls  deal  with  God  upon  the  credit  of  their  own  worthiness, 
righteousness,  services,  prayers,  tears,  fastings,  &c.,  as  the  proud  Phari- 
sees and  those  wrangling  hypocrites  in  Isa.  Iviii.  1-3. 

It  was  a  very  proud  saying  of  one,  Coslum  gratis  non  accipiam,  I 
will  not  have  heaven  but  at  a  rate ;  and  therefore  well  did  the  father 
call  vain-glory  a  pleasant  thief,  and  the  sweet  spoiler  of  spiritual  ex- 
cellencies. 

[12.]  The  twelfth  property  of  an  humble  soul  is  this  :  it  endeavours 
nnore  how  to  honour  and  glorify  God  in  afflictions,  than  how  to 
get  out  of  afflictions.  So  Daniel,  the  three  children,  the  apostles,  and 
those  worthies  of  whom  this  world  was  not  worthy.  They  were  not 
curious  about  getting  out  of  affliction,  but  studious  how  to  glorify  God 
in  their  afflictions.^  They  were  willing  to  be  anything,  and  to  bear  any- 
thing, that  in  everything  God  might  be  glorified.  They  made  it  their 
business  to  glorify  God  in  the  fire,  in  the  prison,  in  the  den,  on  the 
rack,  and  under  the  sword,  &c.  Lord,  says  the  humble  soul,  do  but 
keep  down  my  sins,  and  keep  up  my  heart  in  a  way  of  honouring  of 
thee  under  all  my  troubles,  and  then  my  troubles  will  be  no  troubles, 
my  afflictions  will  be  no  afflictions.  Though  my  burdens  be  doubled, 
and  my  troubles  be  multiplied,  yet  do  but  help  me  to  honour  thee  by 
believing  in  thee,  by  waiting  on  thee,  and  by  submitting  to  thee,  and  I 
shall  sing  care  away,  and  shall  say.  It  is  enough.* 

When  Valens  the  emperor  sent  messengers  to  win  Eusebius  to  heresy 
by  fair  words  and  large  promises,  he  answered,  Alas,  sir  !  these  speeches 
are  fit  to  catch  little  children  that  look  after  such  things,  but  we  that 
are  taught  and  nourished  by  the  holy  Scriptures  are  readier  to  suffer  a 
thousand  deaths  than  to  suffer  one  syllable  or  tittle  of  the  Scripture  to 
be  altered.     And  when  the  emperor  threatened  to  confiscate  his  goods, 

^  So  Themistocles  did  when  he  sought  the  favour  of  king  Admetus.  [Plutarch,  sub 
nomine. — G.] 

'  The  name  of  a  Saviour,  saith  Bernard,  is  honey  in  the  mouth,  and  music  in  the  ear, 
and  a  jubilee  in  the  heart.  [Serm.  on  Canticles,  as  before.— G.'\  The  boy  that  was  a 
monitor  cried  aloud  to  him  that  rode  in  triumph,  Memento  te  esse  hominem,  remember  thy- 
self to  bo  a  man. 

3  Dan.  iii.;  Acts  v.  41,  42,  and  iv.  29  ;  Heb.  xi.;  Eph.  vi.  19,  20;  Philip,  i.  13,  19. 

*  Prorsus  Satan  est  Luthervs,  sed  Christus  vivit  et  rcgnat,  Amen,  said  Luther,  in  writ- 
ing to  his  friend  Spalatinus.    [During  Diet  of  Augsburg G.] 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  21 

to  torment  him,  to  banish  him,  or  to  kill  him,  he  answered,  He  need  not 
fear  confiscation  that  hath  nothing  to  lose;  nor  banishment,  to  whom 
heaven  only  is  a  country  ;  nor  torments,  when  his  body  will  be  dashed 
with  one  blow  ;  nor  death,  which  is  the  only  way  to  set  him  at  liberty 
from  sin  and  sorrow.^  Oh  !  but  when  a  proud  man  is  under  troubles 
and  afflictions,  his  head  and  heart  are  full  of  plots  and  projects  how  to 
get  off  his  chains,  and  to  get  out  of  the  furnace,  &c.  A  proud  heart  will 
say  anything,  and  do  anything,  and  be  anything,  to  free  himself  from 
the  burdens  that  press  him,  as  you  see  in  Pharaoh,  &c.  ;  but  an  humble 
soul  is  willing  to  bear  the  cross  as  long  as  he  can  get  strength  from 
heaven  to  kiss  the  cross,  to  bless  God  for  the  cross,  and  to  glorify  God 
under  the  cross,  &c.,  John  i.  20,  21. 

[13.]  The  thirteenth  property  of  an  humble  soul  is  this  :  it  seeks  not, 
it  looks  7wt,  after  great  things.     A  little  will  satisfy  nature,  less  will 
satisfy  grace  ;  but  nothing  will  satisfy  a  proud  man's  lusts.^     Lord,  says 
the  humble  soul,  if  thou  wilt  but  give  me  bread  to  eat  and  raiment  to 
put  on,  thou  shalt  be  my  God,  Gen.  xxviii.  20-22.     Let  the  men  of  the 
world,  says  the  humble  soul,  take  the  world  in  all  its  greatness  and 
glory,  and  divide  it  among  themselves.^     Let  me  have  much  of  Christ 
and  heaven  in  my  heart,  and  food  convenient  to  support  my  natural 
life,  and  it  shall  be  enough  :  Job  xxii.  29,  *  When  men  are  cast  down, 
then  thou  shalt  say,  There  is  lifting  up;  and  he  shall  save  the  humble 
person  ;'  or  as  the  Hebrew  hath  it,  ne  shahh  gneaim,  him  that  hath  low 
eyes,  noting  to  us  that  an  humble  soul  looks  not  after  high  things.*     So 
in  Ps.  cxxxi.  1,  2,  *  Lord,  my  heart  is  not  haughty  nor  mine  eyes  lofty/ 
But  how  do  you  know  that,  David  ?     Why,  says  he,  *  I  do  not  exercise 
myself  in  great  matters,  or  in  things  too  high,  or  too  wonderful  for  me. 
Heb.  ^3DD  mfc^^am  Surely  I  behaved  and  quieted  myself    *  My  soul  is 
as  a  child  that  is  weaned  of  his  mother.     My  soul  is  even  as  a  weaned 
child.'     As  a  great  shoe  fits  not  a  little  foot,  nor  a  great  sail  a  little  ship, 
nor  a  great  ring  a  little  finger,  so  a  great  estate  fits  not  a  humble  soul. 
It  was  a  prudent  speech  of  that  Indian  king  Taxiles  to  the  invading 
Alexander  :^  What  should  we  need,  said  he,  to  fight  and  make  war  one 
with  another,  if  thou  comest  not  to  take  away  our  water  and  our  neces- 
saries by  which  we  must  live  ?    As  for  other  goods,  if  I  be  richer  than 
thou,  I  am  ready  to  give  thee  of  mine ;  and  if  I  have  less,  I  will  not 
think  scorn  to  thank  thee  if  thou  wilt  give  me  some  of  thine.     Oh !  but 
proud  Absalom  can't  be  content  to  be  the  king's  son,  unless  he  may 
have  the  crown  presently  from  his  father's  head.     Caesar  can  abide  no 
superior,  nor  Pompey  an  equal.     A  proud  soul  is  content  with  nothing. 
A  crown  could  not  content  Ahab,  but  he  must  have  Naboth's  vine- 
yard,  though  he  swim  to  it  in  blood.     Diogenes   had  more   content 
with  his  tub  to  shelter  him  from  the  injuries  of  the  weather,  and  with 
his  wooden  dish  to  eat  and  drink  in,  than  Alexander  had  with  the  con- 
quest of  half  the  world,  and  the  fruition  of  all  the  treasures,  pleasures, 
and  glories  of  Asia.^     So  an  humble  soul  is  more  contented  and  satisfied 

^  Happy  is  that  soul,  and  to  be  equalled  with  angels,  who  is  willing  to  suffer,  if  it 
were  possible,  as  great  things  for  Christ  as  Christ  hath  suffered  for  it,  said  Jerome. 

2  Galen.  3   yij-  bonus  paucis  indiget. 

^  Ps.  iv.  6,  7  ;  Prov.  xxx.  8.  Luther  made  many  a  meal  of  a  herring,  and  Junius  of 
an  egg.     [Francis  Junius,  the  noble-born  coadjutor  of  Tremellius.    Died  1602. — G.] 

s  Plutarch  {^Alexander,  59,  66. — G.]  ^  Plutarch,  &c.,  as  before.— Q. 


22  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

with  Daniel's  pulse  and  John's  coat  than  proud  princes  are  with  their 
glistering  crowns  and  golden  sceptres. 

[14.]  The  fourteenth  property  of  an  humble  soul  is  this  :  it  can 
rejoice  in  the  graces  and  gracious  actings  of  others,  as  well  as  in  its 
own.  An  humble  Moses  could  say  when  Eldad  and  Medad  prophesied 
in  the  camp,  *  Would  God  that  all  the  Lord's  people  were  prophets,  and 
that  the  Lord  would  put  his  Spirit  upon  them,'  Num.  xi.  26-80.  So 
humble  Paul  in  Acts  xxvi.  29,  '  And  Paul  said,  I  would  to  God  that  not 
only  thou,  but  also  all  that  hear  me  this  day,  were  both  almost  and 
altogether  such  as  I  am,  except  those  bonds.'^  1  heartily  wish  and 
pray  for  thine  own  sake  that  not  only  in  a  low  but  in  an  eminent, 
degree,  both  thou  and  all  that  are  here  pr^ent,  were  as  far  Christians 
as  I  am  ;  only  I  would  not  wish  them  imprisoned  as  I  am.  An  humble 
soul  is  no  churl.  There  is  no  envy  in  spiritual  things  ;  one  may  have 
as  much  of  spirituals  as  another,  and  all  alike.  So  in  1  Thes.  i.  2,  3, 
'  We  give  thanks  to  God  always  for  you  all,  making  mention  of  you  in 
our  prayers  ;  remembering  without  ceasing  your  work  of  faith,  and 
labour  of  love,  and  patience  of  hope  in  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  in  the 
sight  of  God  and  our  Father.'  So  in  the  2  Epistle  i.  2-4,  '  Grace  be  unto 
you,  and  peace,  from  God  our  Father,  and  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ.  We 
are  bound  to  thank  God  always  for  you,  brethren,  as  it  is  meet,  because 
that  your  faith  groweth  exceedingly,  and  the  charity  of  every  one  of  you 
all  towards  each  other  aboundeth  :  so  that  we  ourselves  glory  in  you  in 
the  churches  of  God,  for  your  patience  and  faith  in  all  your  persecutions 
and  tribulations  that  you  endure.'  Ezekiel  can  commend  Daniel,  his 
contemporary,  matching  him  with  Noah  and  Job,  for  his  power  in 
prayer  ;  and  Peter  highly  praises  Paul's  epistles,  though  he  had  been 
sharply  reproved  in  one  of  them,  Ezek.  xiv.  1 4,  2  Peter  iii.,  &c.  Oh !  but 
proud  souls  will  be  still  a-casting  disgrace  and  contempt  upon  those 
excellencies  in  others  that  they  want  in  themselves. 

A  proud  cardinal,  in  Luther's  time,  said,  Indeed,  a  reformation  is 
needful,  and  to  be  desired,  but  that  Luther,  a  rascally  friar,  should  be 
the  man  should  do  it,  is  intolerable.^  Pride  is  like  certain  flies,  called 
cantharides,  who  light  especially  upon  the  fairest  wheat  and  the  most 
blown  roses.' 

Though  Licinius,  who  was  joined  with  Galerius  in  the  empire,  was 
so  ignorant  that  he  could  not  write  his  own  name,  yet  as  Eusebius  re- 
ports, he  called  the  liberal  arts  a  pubhc  poison.'^ 

This  age  is  full  of  such  monsters  that  ^nvy  every  light  that  outshines 
their  own,  and  that  throw  dirt  upon  the  graces  and  excellencies  of  others, 
that  themselves  may  only  shine.  Pride  is  notable  both  at  subtraction 
and  at  multiplication.  A  proud  heart  always  prizes  himself  above  the 
market ;  he  reckons  his  own  pence  for  pounds,  and  others'  pounds  for 
pence  ;  he  looks  upon  his  own  counters  as  gold,  and  upon  others'  gold  as 
counters.     All  pearls  are  counterfeit  but  what  he  wears. 

'  {» cxiyu  *«)  iv  •raxxi :  a  little  and  a  great  way.  The  ancient  clmrcli  had  her  diptychs, 
or  public  tables,  wherein  the  persons  most  noted  for  piety  were  recorded.  Plato  called 
Aristotle  the  intelligent  reader,  and  Aristotle  set  up  an  altar  in  honour  of  Plato. 

2  Attributed  to  Cardinal  Cajetan.     Cf.  Sibbes,  vol.  vii.  p.  464— G. 

'  Caesar  Borgias,  emulating  and  imitating  Julius  Caesar,  did  use  to  say,  Aut  Ccesar, 
aut  nullns  ;  but  not  long  after  he  was  slain  in  the  kingdom  of  Navarre. 

*  As  before  :  see  Index,  sub  nomine.— G. 


EpH.  hi.  8.]  KICHES  OF  CHRIST.  23 

[15.]  The  fifteenth  property  of  an  humble  soul  is,  he  will  rather  hear 
wrongs  than  revenge  wrongs  offered.  The  humble  soul  knows  that 
vengeance  is  the  Lord's,  and  that  he  will  repay,  &c.,  Ps.  xciv.  1 .  The 
humble  soul  loves  not  to  take  the  sword  in  his  own  hand,  E,om.  xii.  19  ; 
he  knows  the  day  is  a-coming,  wherein  the  Lord  will  give  his  enemies 
two  blows  for  one,  and  here  he  rests.  An  humble  soul,  when  wrongs 
are  offered,  is  like  a  man  with  a  sword  in  one  hand  and  a  salve  in 
the  other ;  could  wound  but  will  heal  •}  Ps.  xxxv.  11-16,  '  False  wit- 
nesses did  rise  up :  they  laid  to  my  charge  things  that  I  knew  not. 
They  rewarded  me  evil  for  good,  to  the  spoiling  of  my  souL  But  as  for 
me,  when  they  were  sick,  my  clothing  was  sackcloth :  I  humbled  my 
soul  with  fasting ;  and  my  prayer  returned  into  my  own  bosom.  I  be- 
haved myself  as  though  he  had  been  my  friend  or  brother :  I  bowed 
down  heavily,  as  one  that  mourneth  for  his  mother,'  &c.  The  Scripture 
abounds  in  instances  of  this  nature. 

Dionysius  having  not  very  well  used  Plato  at  the  court,  when  he  was 
gone,  fearing  lest  he  should  write  against  him,  he  sent  after  him  to 
bid  him  not  to  write  against  him.  Says  he,  *  Tell  Dionysius  that  I 
have  not  so  much  leisure  as  to  think  of  him.'  So  humble  wronged  souls 
are  not  at  leisure  to  think  of  the  wrongs  and  injuries  that  others  do 
them.  2 

Mr  Foxe,  that  wrote  the  Book  of  Martyrs,  would  be  sure  to  do  him 
a  kindness  that  had  done  him  an  injury :  so  that  it  used  to  be  a  pro- 
verb, '  If  a  man  would  have  Mr  Foxe  do  him  a  kindness,  let  him  do  him 
an  injury.'  An  humble  soul  is  often  in  looking  over  the  wrongs  and 
injuries  that  he  has  done  to  God,  and  the  sweet  and  tender  carriage  of 
God  towards  him  notwithstanding  those  wrongs  and  injuries ;  and  this 
wins  him,  and  works  him  to  be  more  willing  and  ready  to  bear  wrongs, 
and  forgive  wrongs,  than  to  revenge  any  offered  wrongs. 

[16.]  The  sixteenth  property  of  an  humble  soul  is  this.  An  humble 
soul,  though  he  he  of  never  so  rare  abilities,  yet  he  will  not  disdain  to 
he  taught  what  he  knows  not,  hy  the  meanest  persons,  Isa.  xi.  6.  A 
child  shall  lead  the  humble  soul  in  the  way  that  is  good  ;  he  cares  not 
how  mean  and  contemptible  the  person  is,  if  a  g\iide  or  an  instructor 
to  him. 

ApoUos,  *  an  eloquent  man,  and  mighty  in  the  Scripture,'  a  master  in 
Israel,  and  yet  sits  by  an  Aquila,  a  tent-maker,  and  Priscilla  his  wife,  to 
be  instructed  by  them.  Acts  xviii.  24-26.^  Sometimes  the  poorest  and 
the  meanest  Christian  may,  for  counsel  and  comfort,  be  a  god  to  an- 
other, as  Moses  was  to  Aaron.  As  an  humble  soul  knows  that  the  stars 
have  their  situation  in  heaven,  though  sometimes  he  sees  them  by  their 
reflection  in  a  puddle,  in  the  bottom  of  a  well,  or  in  a  stinking  ditch ; 
so  he  knows  that  godly  souls,  though  never  so  poor,  low,  and  contempt- 
ible, as  to  the  things  of  this  world,  are  fixed  in  heaven,  in  the  region 
above  ;  and  therefore  their  poverty  and  meanness  is  no  bar  to  hinder 
him  from  learning  of  them,  Eph.  ii.  6. 

'  1  may  truly  say  of  the  humble  soul  what  Tully  said  of  Caesar,  Nihil  ohliyisci  soles, 
nisi  injurias,  that  he  forgot  nothing  but  injuries.  Augustus  Ceesar,  in  whose  time  Christ 
was  born,  bid  Catullus,  the  railing  poet,  to  supper,  to  shew  that  he  had  forgiven  him. 
[Rather  Julius  Caesar  :  Suetonius,  Jul.  73. — G.] 

2  Cf.  Tyzetzes,  Chil.  v.  182-185.— G. 

3  Vide  Beza  on  the  words.    [Annot.,  as  before. — G.] 


24  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

Though  John  was  poor  in  the  world,  yet  many  humble  souls  did  not 
disdain,  but  rejoice  in  his  ministry.  Christ  lived  poor  and  died  poor, 
Mat.  viii.  20.  As  he  was  born  in  another  man's  house,  so  he  was  buried 
in  another  man's  tomb.  Austin  observes,  when  Christ  died  he  made  no 
will ;  he  had  no  crown-lands,  only  his  coat  was  left,  and  that  the  sol- 
diers parted  among  them ;  and  yet  those  that  were  meek  and  lowly  in 
heart  counted  it  their  heaven,  their  happiness,  to  be  taught  and  instructed 
by  him.^ 

[17.]  The  seventeenth  property  of  an  humble  soul  is  this  :  an  Iiumhle 
soul  will  bless  God,  and  be  thankful  to  God,  as  vjell  under  misery  as 
under  mercy  ;  as  well  when  God  frowns  as  when  he  smiles  ;  as  well 
when  God  takes  as  when  he  gives  ;  as  well  under  crosses  and  losses, 
as  under  blessings  and  mercies:^  Job  i.  21,  '  The  Lord  gives  and  the 
Lord  takes,  blessed  be  the  name  of  the  Lord.'  He  doth  not  cry  out 
upon  the  Sabeans  and  the  Chaldeans,  but  he  looks  through  all  second- 
ary causes,  and  sees  the  hand  of  God  ;  and  then  he  lays  his  hand 
upon  his  own  heart,  and  sweetly  sings  it  out,  *  The  Lord  gives,  and 
the  Lord  takes,  blessed  be  the  name  of  the  Lord.'  An  humble 
soul,  in  every  condition,  blesses  God,  as  the  apostle  commands,  in 
the  1  Thes.  v.  18,  '  In  every  thing  give  thanks  to  God.'  So  1  Cor.  iv.  12, 
*  Being  reviled,  we  bless  ;  being  persecuted,  we  suffer.'  The  language 
of  an  humble  soul  is.  If  it  be  thy  will,  saith  an  humble  soul,  I  should 
be  in  darkness,  I  will  bless  thee  ;  and  if  it  be  thy  will  I  should  be  again 
in  light,  I  will  bless  thee  ;  if  thou  wilt  comfort  me,  I  wiU  bless  thee  ; 
and  if  thou  wilt  afflict  me,  I  will  bless  thee  ;  if  thou  wilt  make  me  poor, 
I  will  bless  thee  ;  if  thou  wilt  make  me  rich,  I  will  bless  thee  ;  if  thou 
wilt  give  me  the  least  mercy,  I  will  bless  thee  ;  if  thou  wilt  give  me  no 
mercy,  I  will  bless  thee.  An  humble  soul  is  quick-sighted  ;  he  sees  the 
rod  in  a  Father's  hand;  he  sees  honey  upon  the  top  of  every  twig,  and  so 
can  bless  God ;  he  sees  sugar  at  the  bottom  of  the  bitterest  cup  that  God 
doth  put  into  his  hand  ;  he  knows  that  God's  house  of  correction  is  a 
school  of  instruction  ;  and  so  he  can  sit  down  and  bless  when  the  rod 
is  upon  his  back.  An  humble  soul  knows  that  the  design  of  God  in  all 
is  his  instruction,  his  reformation,  and  his  salvation.^ 

It  was  a  sweet  saying  of  holy  Bradford,  If  the  queen  will  give  me 
my  life,  I  will  thank  her  ;  if  she  will  banish  me,  I  will  thank  her  ;  if 
she  will  bum  me,  I  will  thank  her  ;  if  she  will  condemn  me  to  perpe- 
tual imprisonment,  I  will  thank  her.*  Ay,  this  is  the  temper  of  an 
humble  heart.  ^  An  humble  soul  knows,  that  to  bless  God  in  prosperity 
is  the  way  to  increase  it ;  and  to  bless  God  in  adversity  is  the  way  to 
remove  it.  An  humble  soul  knows,  that  if  he  blesses  God  under  mer- 
cies, he  hath  paid  his  debt ;  but  if  he  blesses  God  under  crosses,  he 

»  On  John  xiv.  27.— G. 

'  Tullj  calls  gratitude  Maximam,  imo  mafrem,  omnium  virtutum  rdiquarum,  the 
greatest,  yea,  the  mother  of  all  virtues. 

3  The  Jews  have  a  proverb,  that  we  must  leap  up  to  mount  Gerizim,  which  was  a 
mount  of  blessings  ;  but  creep  into  mount  Ebal,  which  was  a  mount  of  curses  :  to  shew 
that  we  must  be  ready  to  bless,  but  backward  to  curse.  An  humble  soul  can  extract  one 
contrary  out  of  another,  honey  out  of  the  rock,  gold  out  of  iron,  &c.  A  fflictions  to  humble 
souls  are  the  Lord's  plough,  the  Lord's  harrow,  the  Lord's  flail,  the  Lord's  drawing-plas- 
ter, the  Lord  s  pruning  knife,  the  Lord's  potion,  the  Lord's  soap  ;  and  therefore  they  can 
sit  down  and  bless  the  Lord,  and  kiss  the  rod. 

<  Foxe,  sub  nomine,  and  his  own  Letters. — G. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  25 

hath  made  God  a  debtor.  But  oh  the  pride  of  men's  hearts,  when  the 
rod  is  upon  their  backs  !  You  have  many  professors  that  are  seemingly 
humble,  while  the  sun  shines,  while  God  gives,  and  smiles,  and  strokes ; 
but  when  his  smiles  are  turned  into  frowns,  when  he  strikes  and  lays 
on,  oh  the  murmurings  !  the  disputings  !  the  frettings  !  and  wranglings 
of  proud  souls  !  they  always  kick  when  God  strikes. 

[18.]  The  last  property  of  an  humble  soul  is  this :  an  humble  soul 
will  wisely  and  patiently  bear  reproof :  Pro  v.  xxv.  12,  'As  an  ear- 
ring of  gold,  and  an  ornament  of  fine  gold,  so  is  a  wise  reprover  upon 
an  obedient  ear.'  A  seasonable  reproof  falling  upon  an  humble  soul 
hath  a  redoubled  grace  with  it.  It  is  an  ear-ring  of  gold,  and  as  an 
ornament  of  fine  gold,  or  as  a  diamond  in  a  diadem. 

An  humble  David  can  say,  *  Let  the  righteous  smite  me,  it  shall  be 
a  kindness,  and  let  him  reprove  me,  it  shall  be  an  excellent  oil,  which 
shall  not  break  my  head,'  Ps.  cxli.  5.  David  compares  the  faithful 
reproof  of  the  righteous,  to  the  excellent  oil  that  they  used  about  their 
heads.  Some  translate  it,  *  Let  it  never  cease  from  my  head.'  That  is, 
let  me  never  want  it,  and  so  the  original  will  bear  too,  I  would  never 
want  reproofs,  whatsoever  I  want :  '  But  yet  my  prayer  shall  be  in  their 
calamities.'  I  will  requite  their  reproofs  with  my  best  prayers  in  the 
day  of  their  calamity,  saith  David.  Whereas  a  proud  heart  will  neither 
pray  for  such  nor  with  such  as  reprove  them,  but  in  their  calamities 
will  most  insult  over  them.^ 

Some  translate  it  more  emphatically  :  *  The  more  they  do,  the  more 
I  shall  think  myself  bound  unto  them.'  And  this  was  Gerson's  dispo- 
sition,^ of  whom  it  is  recorded,  that  he  rejoiced  in  nothing  more  than  if 
he  were  freely  and  friendly  reproved  by  any  :  Pro  v.  ix.  8,  9,  '  Rebuke 
a  wise  man,  and  he  will  love  thee ;  give  instruction  to  a  wise  man,  and 
he  will  be  yet  wiser.'  Prov.  xix.  25,  *  Reprove  one  that  hath  under- 
standing, and  he  will  understand  knowledge.'  You  know  how  sweetly 
David  carries  it  towards  Abigail,  1  Sam.  xxv.  32,  33 ;  she  wisely  meets 
him,  and  puts  him  in  mind  of  what  he  was  going  about,  and  he  falls 
a-blessing  of  her  presently  :  *  Blessed  be  the  Lord  God  of  Israel,  which 
sent  thee  this  day  to  meet  me,  and  blessed  be  thy  advice,  and  blessed 
be  thou  which  hast  kept  me  this  day  from  coming  to  shed  blood.'  I 
was  resolved  in  my  passion,  and  in  the  heat  of  my  spirit,  that  I  would 
not  leave  a  man  alive,  but  blessed  be  God,  and  blessed  be  thy  counsel ! 
An  humble  soul  can  sit  down  and  bless  God  under  reproofs.  An  humble 
soul  is  like  the  Scythian  king,  that  went  naked  in  the  snow,  and  when 
Alexander  wondered  how  he  could  endure  it,  he  answered,  '  I  am  not 
ashamed,  for  I  am  all  forehead.'  An  humble  soul  is  all  forehead,  able 
to  bear  reproofs  with  much  wisdom  and  patience.  Oh  !  but  a  proud 
heart  cannot  bear  reproofs,  he  scorns  the  reprover  and  his  reproofs  too.^ 

*  ^I^N")  ^3"*'?J<.  Oil  is  here  metaphorically  taken  for  words  of  reproof,  which  may  be 
said  figuratively  to  break  the  head.     Vide  Job  x.  2. 

2  In  vit.  Jo.  Gerson.  So  Alypius  loved  Austin  for  reproving  him  [Confessions,  b.  vi., 
vii.  12.— G.]  So  did  David  Nathan,  1  Kings  i.  ;  2  Sam.  xii.  12,  13,  and  xxiv.  13,  14. 
That  is  a  choice  and  tender  spirit  that  can  meekly  and  humbly  embrace  reproofs,  and  bless 
God  for  reproofs. 

3  Manasseh,  king  of  Judah,  being  reproved  by  the  aged  princely  prophet  Isaiah,  caused 
him,  near  to  the  fountain  of  Siloa,  to  be  sawn  in  sunder  with  a  wooden  saw,  in  the 
eightieth  year  of  his  age  ;  for  which  cruel  act,  amongst  other  of  his  sins,  lie  was  sorely 


26  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

Prov.  XV.  12,  'A  scorner  loveth  not  one  that  reproveth  him,  neither 
will  he  go  unto  the  wise.'  Amos  v.  10,  '  They  hate  him  that  reproveth 
in  the  gate  ;'  as  Ahab  did  good  Micaiah,  and  John  Baptist  did  Herod, 
and  our  Saviour  the  Pharisees,^  Luke  xvi.  13.  Christ  being  to  deal  with 
the  covetous  Scribes  and  Pharisees,  he  lays  the  law  home,  and  tells  them 
plainly  that  they  could  not  serve  God  and  mammon.  Here  Christ 
strikes  at  their  right  eye  ;  but  how  do  they  hear  this  ?  Mark  in  the 
14th  verse,  '  The  Pharisees  also,  who  were  covetous,  heard  all  these 
things,  and  they  derided  him.'  The  Pharisees  did  not  simply  laugh  at 
Christ,  but  gave  also  external  signs  of  scorn  in  their  countenance  and 
gestures.  They  blew  their  nose  at  him,  for  that  is  the  meaning  of  the 
original  word.^  By  their  gestures  they  demonstrated  their  horrid  derid- 
ing of  him  ;  they  fleared  and  jeered,  when  they  should  have  feared  and 
trembled  at  the  wrath  to  come  :  Isa.  xxviii.  1 0,  '  For  precept  must  be 
upon  precept,  precept  upon  precept ;  line  upon  line,  line  upon  line  ; 
here  a  little,  and  there  a  little.'  One  observes,  that  that  was  a  scoff 
put  upon  the  prophet,  and  is  as  if  they  should  say,  Here  is  nothing 
but  precept  upon  precept,  line  upon  line.  And,  indeed,  the  very  sound 
of  the  words  in  the  original  carries  a  taunt,  zau  le  zau,  kau  lakau,  as 
scornful  people,  by  the  tone  of  their  voice  and  rhyming  words,  scorn  at 
such  as  they  despise.  Pride  and  passion,  and  other  vices,  in  these  days 
go  armed  ;  touch  them  never  so  gently,  yet,  like  the  nettle,  they  will 
sting  you  ;  and  if  you  deal  with  them,  roimdly,  roughly,  cuttingly,  as 
the  apostle  speaks,  they  will  swagger  with  you,  as  the  Hebrew  did  with 
Moses  :  'Who  made  thee  a  judge  over  us?'  Exod.  ii.  13,  14.  And 
thus  much  for  the  properties  of  an  humble  soul. 

III.  I  come  now  to  the  next  thing,  and  that  is,  to  shew  you  the 
reasons  why  the  best  men  are  the  most  humble  men, 

[1.]  First,  Because  they  see  themselves  the  greatest  debtors  to  God  for 
tvhat  they  do  enjoy. 

There  is  no  man  on  earth  that  sees  himself  such  a  debtor  to  God  as 
the  humble  man.  Every  smile  makes  him  a  debtor  to  God,  and  every 
good  word  from  heaven  makes  him  a  debtor  to  God.  He  looks  upon 
all  his  temporals,  as  health,  wealth,  wife,  child,  friend,  &c.,  and  sees 
himself  deeply  indebted  for  all.  He  looks  upon  his  spiritual  mercies, 
and  sees  himself  a  great  debtor  to  God  for  them ;  he  looks  upon  his 
graces,  and  sees  himself  a  debtor  for  them  ;  he  looks  upon  his  experi- 
ences, and  sees  himself  a  debtor  for  them ;  he  looks  upon  all  his  pri- 
vileges, and  sees  himself  a  debtor  for  them  ;  he  looks  upon  his  in-comes, 
and  sees  himself  a  debtor  for  them.^  The  more  mercy  he  hath  received, 
the  more  he  looks  upon  himself  indebted  and  obliged  to  pay  duty  and 
tribute  to  God  ;  as  you  may  see  in  Ps.  cxvi.  6,  7,  8,  12,  13,  14  verses 
compared.  In  the  6th,  7th,  8th  verses,  he  tells  you  of  the  mercies  he 
punished  by  God,  2  Chron.  xxxiii.  11.  So  Cambyses,  king  of  Persia,  hated  Praxaspes, 
one  of  his  nobles  that  was  familiar  with  him,  for  reproving  his  drunkenness. 

^  The  meaning  is  plain,  though  the  sentence  is  inaccurate. — Ed. 

2  They  blowed  their  nose  at  him,  manifesting  thereby  their  scorning  at  what  he  said. 

3  When  a  knight  died  at  Rome  that  was  much  in  debt,  Augustus  the  emperor  sent  to 
buy  his  bed,  conceiving  there  must  needs  be  some  extraordinary  virtue  in  it,  if  he  that 
was  so  much  in  debt  could  take  any  rest  upon  it.  An  humble  soul  sees  himself  so  much 
in  debt  for  mercies  in  hand,  and  mercies  in  hope,  that  he  cannot  sleep  without  blessing 
and  admiring  of  God. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  EICHES  OF  CHRIST.  27 

had  received  from  God,  and  in  the  12th  and  ISth  verses,  says  he,  *  What 
shall  I  render  to  the  Lord  for  all  his  benefits  towards  me  ?'  I  see  my- 
self, saith  he,  wonderfully  indebted  ;  well,  what  then  ?  why,  '  I  will  take 
the  cup  of  salvation,  and  call  upon  the  name  of  the  Lord.  I  will  pay 
my  vows  unto  the  Lord,  in  the  presence  of  all  his  people.'  The  same 
you  have  in  the  16th,  l7th,  and  ISth  verses  of  the  same  psalm. 

So  David,  Ps.  ciii.  1-4,  casts  his  eyes  upon  his  temporal  and  his 
spiritual  mercies,  and  then  calls  upon  his  soul :  '  O  my  soul,  bless  the 
Lord  ;  and  all  that  is  within  me,  bless  his  holy  name.  Bless  the  Lord, 
O  my  soul,  and  forget  not  all  his  benefits  :  who  forgiveth  all  thine 
iniquities  ;  who  healeth  all  thy  diseases,'  &c.  An  humble  soul  knows, 
that  it  is  a  strange  folly  to  be  proud  of  being  more  in  debt  than  another. 
It  is  true,  saith  he,  I  have  this  and  that  mercy  in  possession,  and  such 
and  such  mercies  in  reversion  ;  but  by  all,  I  am  the  more  a  debtor  to 
God.^ 

Caesar  admired  at  that  mad  soldier,  who  was  very  much  in  debt  and 
yet  slept  so  quietly.  So  does  an  humble  soul  wonder  and  admire,  to  see 
men  that  are  so  much  indebted  to  God  for  mercies,  as  many  are,  and 
yet  sleep  so  quietly,  and  be  so  mindless  and  careless  in  blessing  and 
praising  of  God.  There  is  nothing,  saith  one,  that  endures  so  small  a 
time,  as  the  memory  of  mercies  received  ;  and  the  more  great  they  are, 
the  more  commonly  they  are  recompensed  with  ingratitude. 

[2.]  Secondly,  It  is  because  in  this  life  they  have  hut  a  taste  of  God. 

In  the  1  Pet.  ii.  2,  3,  '  As  new-born  babes,  desire  the  sincere  milk  of 
the  word,  that  ye  may  grow  thereby  ;  if  so  be  ye  have  tasted  that  the 
Lord  is  gracious.'  The  best  men  on  this  side  heaven  have  but  a  taste  ; 
he  is  but  in  a  tasting,  desiring,  hungering,  thirsting,  and  growing  condi- 
tion :  Job  xxvi.  14,  'These  are  part  of  his  ways,  but  how  little  a  por- 
tion is  heard  of  him  !'  So  in  1  Cor.  xiii.  9,  10,  12,  '  We  know  but  in 
part,  and  we  prophesy  but  in  part ;  now  we  see  through  a  glass  darkly, 
but  then  face  to  face.'  The  Lord  gives  out  but  little  of  himself  here, 
we  have  but  a  taste  of  divine  sweetness  here,  we  see  but  the  back-parts 
of  God,  the  day  is  not  far  off  when  we  shall  see  his  face.  The  best  of 
Christ  is  behind,  as  the  sweetest  honey  lies  in  the  bottom.  Our  greatest 
knowledge  here  is  to  know  that  we  know  nothing. 

The  Kabbins  in  their  comments  upon  Scripture,  when  they  meet  with 
hard  knots  that  they  cannot  explicate,  they  salve  all  with  this,  Elias 
cum  venerit  solvet  omnia,  '  When  Elias  comes,  he  will  resolve  all 
things.'  The  best  men  are  in  the  dark,  and  will  be  in  the  dark,  till  the 
Lord  comes  to  shine  forth  upon  them  in  more  grace  and  glory.  The 
best  men  on  this  side  heaven  are  narrow  vessels  :  they  are  able  to  receive 
and  take  in  but  little  of  God.  The  best  men  are  so  full  of  the  world, 
and  the  vanities  thereof,  that  they  are  able  to  take  in  but  little  of  God. 
Here  God  gives  his  people  some  tastes,  that  they  may  not  faint ;  and  he 
gives  them  but  a  taste,  that  they  may  long  to  be  at  home,  that  they 
may  keep  humble,  that  they  may  sit  loose  from  things  below,  that  they 
may  not  break  and  despise  bruised  reeds,  and  that  heaven  may.  be  the 
more  sweet  to  them  at  last,  &c. 

^  I  have  read  of  a  stork  that  cast  a  pearl  into  the  bosom  of  a  maid,  which  had  healed 
her  of  a  wound.  So  humble  souls  cast  the  pearl  of  praise  into  the  bosom  of  God  for  all 
his  favours  towards  them. — Guc.  Hist.,  lib,  iv.     [Guicciardini.— G.] 


28  THE  UNSEAKCHABLE  [EpH.  Ill  8. 

[3.]  A  third  reason  why  the  best  men  are  the  most  humble,  and 
that  is,  because  the  best  men  dwell  more  %ijpon  their  worser  part,  their 
ignoble  part,  than  they  do  upon  their  noble  part,  their  better  part. 

In  Isa.  vi.  5,  M  am  a  man  of  unclean  lips,'  saith  that  humble  soul. 
So  humble  Job  cries  out  of  the  iniquity  of  his  youth  ;  and  says  he, 
'  Once  have  I  spoken  foolishly,  yea,  twice,  but  I  will  do  so  no  more,' 
Job  xiii.  26,  xl.  15.  Humble  David,  Ps.  li.  3,  sighs  it  out,  'My  sin  is 
ever  before  me.'  So  humble  Paul,  Eom.  vii.  22,  23,  complains,  that  he 
'  hath  a  law  in  his  members  warring  against  the  law  of  his  mind,  and 
leading  him  captive  to  the  law  of  sin ;'  and  that,  '  when  he  would  do 
good,  evil  was  present  with  him.'  An  humble  soul  sees  that  he  can 
stay  no  more  from  sin  than  the  heart  can  from  panting,  and  the  pulse 
from  beating;  he  sees  his  heart  and  life  to  be  fuller  of  sin,  than  the 
firmament  is  of  stars  ;  and  this  keeps  him  low.^  He  sees  that  sin  is  so 
bred  in  the  bone,  that  till  his  bones,  as  Joseph's,  be  carried  out  of  the 
Egypt  of  this  world,  it  will  not  out.  He  every  day  finds  that  these 
Jebusites  and  Canaanites  be  as  thorns  in  his  eyes,  and  as  goads  in 
his  sides.  He  finds  sin  an  ill  inmate,  that  will  not  out,  till  the  house 
fall  on  the  head  of  it;  as  the  fretting  leprosy,  in  the  walls  of  the  house, 
would  not  out  till  the  house  itself  was  demohshed.^  Though  sin  and 
grace  were  never  born  together,  and  though  they  shall  not  die  together ; 
yet  while  the  believer  lives,  these  two  must  live  together ;  and  this 
keeps  them  humble. 

As  the  peacock,  looking  upon  his  black  feet,  lets  fall  his  plumes,  so 
the  poor  soul,  when  he  looks  upon  his  black  feet,  the  vanity  of  his 
mind,  the  body  of  sin  that  is  in  him,  his  proud  spirit  falls  low. 

Epaminondas,  an  Athenian  captain,  being  asked  why  he  was  so  sad 
the  day  after  a  great  victory,  answered,  *  Yesterday  I  was  tickled  with 
much  vain-glory,  therefore  I  correct  myself  for  it  to-day.'^  That  is  the 
temper  of  an  humble  soul.  It  is  very  observable,  that  the  saints  are 
pressed  to  take  notice  of  their  better  part :  Cant.  i.  15,  '  Behold  thou 
art  fair  my  love,  behold  thou  art  fair.'  And  so,  chap.  iv.  1,  '  Behold 
thou  art  fair,  behold  thou  art  fair.'*  God  hath  much  ado  to  get  a 
gracious  heart  to  mind  his  spiritual  beauty;  to  take  notice  of  the  inward 
excellency  that  he  hath  wrought  in  it.  Though  '  the  king's  daughter 
be  all  glorious  within,'  yet  God  hath  much  ado  to  bring  her  to  see  and 
take  notice  of  her  inward  beauty  and  glory.  The  humble  soul  is  more 
set  to  eye  and  dwell  upon  its  deformity,  than  it  is  upon  that  beauty 
and  glory  that  God  hath  stamped  upon  it.  And  this  makes  the  man 
little  and  low  in  his  own  eyes. 

[4.]  Fourthly,  Because  they  have  the  clearest  sight  and  vision  of 
God,  and  have  the  nearest  and  highest  comTnunion  with  God.  None 
on  earth  are  so  near  to  God,  and  so  high  in  their  communion  with  God, 
as  humble  souls.  And  as  they  have  the  clearest  visions  of  God,  so 
those  actions  of  God  give  them  the  fullest  sight  and  knowledge  of  their 
own  sinfulness  and  nothingness.     So  in  Job  xlii.  5,  6,  '  I  have  heard  of 

*  Teneo'in  memoria,  scribo  in  charta,  sed  non  habeo  in  vita. — Augustine. 

'As  Hagar  would  dwell  with  Sarah  till  she  beat  her  out  of  doors,  so  will  sin  dwell 
with  grace  till  death  beat  it  out  of  doors.  3  Plutarch  :  Epam. — G. 

*  This  duplication,  as  well  as  the  ecc*'-,  is  full  of  attention  and  admiration,  and  Christ 
by  praising  perfects  his  own  work ;  for  locutio  verbi  infusio  doni,  to  call  her  fair  is  to 
make  her  so,  &c. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  29 

thee  by  the  hearing  of  the  ear,  but  now  mine  eye  hath  seen  thee,  I 
abhor  myself  in  dust  and  ashes."  Isa.  vi.  1,  5,  In  a  vision  the  Lord 
discovers  his  glory  to  the  prophet,  then  verse  5,  *  Woe  is  me !'  saith  he, 
*  for  I  am  undone  -'  or  '  I  am  cut  off,'  why  ?  Because  '  I  am  a  man  of 
unclean  lips ;  and  have  seen  the  King,  the  Lord  of  hosts.' ^  Oh,  the 
vision  that  I  have  had  of  the  glory  of  God  hath  given  me  such  a  clear 
and  full  sight  of  my  own  vileness  and  baseness,  that  I  cannot  but  loathe 
and  abhor  myself  When  Abraham  draws  near  to  God,  then  he  accounts 
himself  but  dust  and  ashes.  Gen.  xviii.  26,  27.  The  angels  that  are 
near  God,  that  stand  before  him,  they  cover  their  faces  with  two  wings, 
as  with  a  double  scarf,  in  the  6th  of  Isaiah  ver.  2. 

[5.]  The  fifth  and  last  reason  why  those  are  most  humble  that  are 
most  holy  is,  because  they  maintain  in  themselves  a  holy  fear  of  sin- 

'  And  the  more  this  holy  fear  of  falling  is  maintained,  the  more  the 
soul  is  humbled.  Pro  v.  xiv.  16,  '  A  wise  man  feareth,  and  departeth 
from  evil;'  and  chap,  xxviii.  14,  'Happy  is  the  man  that  feareth  always: 
but  he  that  hardeneth  his  heart  shall  fall  into  mischief  And  this 
keeps  the  holy  soul  humble. 

1  have  known  a  good  old  man,  saith  Bernard,  who  when  he  had  heard 
of  any  that  had  committed  some  notorious  offence,  was  wont  to  say 
with  himself,  Ille  hodie,  et  ego  eras,  he  fell  to-day,  so  may  I  to-morrow. 
Now,  the  reason  why  humble  souls  do  keep  up  in  themselves  a  holy 
fear  of  falling,  is  because  this  is  the  best  to  keep  them  from  falling. 
Job  fears  and  conquers  on  the  dunghill ;  Adam  presumes,  and  falls  in 

, paradise;  Nehemiah  fears,  and  stands,  Neh.  v.  15  ;  Peter  presumes, 
and  falls,  Mat.  xxvi.  69,  seq. ;  Mr  Sanders  the  martyr,  in  Queen  Mary's 
days,  fears  and  stands ;  Dr  Pendleton  presumes,  and  falls  from  a  pro- 
fessor to  be  a  papist.' 

When  Agamemnon  said.  What  should  the  conqueror  fear  ?  Casander 
presently  answered,  Quod  nihil  timet,  He  should  fear  this  most  of  all, 
that  he  fears  not  at  all. 

And  so  I  have  done  with  the  reasons  of  the  point.    I  shall  now  come  to 

IV.  The  uses  of  it :  and  the  first  is  this. 

[l.J  Is  it  so,  that  the  most  holy  souls  are  the  most  humble  souls? 
Then  this  shews  you,  that  the  number  of  holy  souls  is  very  few.  Oh, 
how  few  be  there  that  are  low  in  their  own  eyes!  The  number  of  souls 
that  are  high  in  the  esteem  of  God,  and  low  in  their  own  esteem,  are 
very  few.  Oh,  the  pride  of  England  !  Oh,  the  pride  of  London  ! 
Pride  in  these  days  has  got  a  whore's  forehead  ;  yet  pride  cannot  climb 
so  high  but  justice  will  sit  above  her. 

Bernard  saith,  that  pride  is  the  rich  man's  cousin.  I  may  add,  and 
the  poor  man's  cousin,  and  the  profane  man's  cousin,  and  the  civil 
man's  cousin,  and  the  formal  man's  cousin,  and  the  hypocrite's  cousin  ; 
yea,  all  men's  cousin ;  and  it  will  first  or  last  cast  down  and  cast  out  all 
the  Lucifers  and  Adams  in  the  world.* 

*  DXlOX,  from  DKJ3,  which  signifies  to  reject,  to  despise,  to  cast  off,  to  contemn. 

2  As  one  fire,  so  one  fear  drives  out  another.  As  the  sunshine  puts  out  fire,  so  doth 
the  fear  of  God  the  fire  of  hists.  ^  Clarke,  as  before. — G. 

*  A  proud  heart  resists,  and  is  resisted  ;  this  is  duro  durum,  flint  to  flint,  fire  to  fire, 
yet  down  he  must. 


30  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

[2.]  Secondly,  As  you  would  approve  yourselves  to  he  high  in  the 
account  of  God,  as  you  would  approve  yourselves  to  be  not  only  good, 
but  eminently  good,  keep  humble.  Since  England  was  England,  since 
the  gospel  shined  amongst  us,  there  was  never  such  reason  to  press  this 
duty  of  humility,  as  in  these  days  of  pride  wherein  we  live  ;  and  there- 
fore I  shall  endeavour  these  two  things  : 

First,  To  lay  down  some  motives  that  may  work  you  to  be  humble. 
Secondly,  To  propound  some  directions  that  may  further  you  in  this 
work. 
First,  For  the  motives,  Consider, 

(1.)  First,  How  God  singles  out  humble  souls  from  all  others,  to 
pour  out  most  of  the  oil  of  grace  into  their  hearts. 

No  vessels  that  God  delights  to  fill,  like  broken  vessels,  like  contrite 
spirits:  James  iv.  6,  'He  resists  the  proud,  and  gives  grace  to  the 
humble.'  The  Greek  word  signifies,  to  set  himself  in  battle  array. 
God  takes  the  wind  and  hill  of  a  proud  soul,  but  he  gives  grace  to  the 
humble.  The  silver  dews  flow  down  from  the  mountains  to  the  lowest 
valleys.  Abraham  was  but  dust  and  ashes  in  his  own  eyes  ;  ay,  but 
saith  God,  '  Shall  I  hide  from  Abraham  the  thing  that  I  will  do  V  Gen. 
xviii.  17.  No ;  I  will  not.  An  humble  soul  shall  be  both  of  God's 
court  and  his  counsel  too.  Humble  Jacob,  that  was  in  his  own  eyes 
less  than  the  least  of  all  mercies,  Gen.  xxxii.  10,  what  a  glorious  vision 
had  he  of  God,  when  the  ground  was  his  bed,  and  the  stone  his  pillow, 
and  the  hedges  his  curtains,  and  the  heavens  his  canopy ;  then  he  saw 
angels  ascend  and  descend.  Gen.  xxviii.  An  humble  soul  that  lies  low, 
oh  what  sights  of  God  hath  he !  What  glory  doth  he  behold,  when  the 
proud  soul  sees  nothing !  God  pours  in  grace  to  the  humble,  as  men 
pour  in  liquor  into  an  empty  vessel.  He  does  not  drop  in  grace  into 
an  humble  heart,  but  he  pours  it  in.^ 

The  altar  under  the  law  was  hollow,  to  receive  the  fire,  the  wood, 
and  the  sacrifice  ;  so  the  hearts  of  men,  under  the  gospel,  must  be 
humble,  empty  of  all  spiritual  pride  and  self-conceitedness,  that  so  they 
may  receive  the  fire  of  the  Spirit,  and  Jesus  Christ,  who  offered  himself 
for  a  sacrifice  for  our  sins. 

Humility  is  both  a  grace,  and  a  vessel  to  receive  grace.  There  is 
none  that  sees  so  much  need  of  grace  as  humble  souls.  There  is  none 
prizes  grace  like  humble  souls.  There  is  none  improves  grace  like 
humble  souls.  Therefore  God  singles  out  the  humble  soul  to  fill  him 
to  the  brim  with  grace,  when  the  proud  is  sent  empty  away. 

(2.)  A  second  motive  is,  of  all  garments  humility  doth  best  become 
Christians,  and  most  adorn  their  prof  ession. 

Faith  is  the  champion  of  grace,  and  love  the  nurse,  but  humility  the 
beauty  of  grace  :  1  Peter  v.  5,  '  Be  clothed  with  humility.'  The  Greek 
word  iy^oiM^Mdaak  imports,  that  humility  is  the  ribbon  or  string  that  ties 
together  all  those  precious  pearls,  the  rest  of  the  graces.  If  this  strino- 
break,  they  are  all  scattered. 

The  Greek  word  that  is  rendered  clothed,  comes  of  another  Greek 
word  ■/.oiJ.Zog,  that  signifies  to  knit,  and  tie  knots,  as  delicate  and  curious 
women  used  to  do,  of  ribbons,  to  adorn  their  heads  and  bodies,  as  if 

^  He  that  is  in  the  low  pits  and  caves  of  the  earth  sees  the  stars  in  the  firmament,  when 
they  who  are  upon  the  tops  of  the  mountains  discern  them  not. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  KICHES  OF  CHRIST.  31 

humility  were  the  knot  of  every  virtue,  the  grace  of  every  grace. 
Chrysostom  calls  humility  the  root,  mother,  nurse,  foundation,  and 
band  of  all  virtue.'  Basil  calls  it  '  the  storehouse  and  treasury  of  all 
good.'  For  what  is  the  scandal  and  reproach  of  religion  at  this  day? 
Nothing  more  than  the  pride  of  professors.  Is  not  this  the  language  of 
most  ?  They  are  great  professors.  Oh  but  very  proud  !  They  are  great 
hearers,  they  will  run  from  sermon  to  sermon,  and  cry  up  this  man,  and 
cry  up  that  man,  Oh  but  proud  !  They  are  great  talkers.  Oh  but  as  proud 
as  the  devil !  &c.  Oh  that  you  would  take  the  counsel  of  the  apostle, 
'  Be  clothed  with  humility' ;  and  that  Col.  iii.  12,  *  Put  on  therefore,  as 
the  elect  of  God,  holy  and  beloved,  bowels  of  mercy,  kindness,  humble- 
ness of  mind,  meekness,  longsuflfering.'     No  robes  to  these.^ 

(3.)  The  third  motive  is  this,  humility  is  a  loadstone  that  draws 
both  the  heart  of  God  and  man  to  it. 

In  Isa.  Ivii.  15,  '  Thus  saith  the  high  and  lofty  One,  that  inhabiteth 
eternity,  whose  name  is  holy  ;  I  dwell  in  the  high  and  holy  place,  with 
him  also  that  is  of  a  contrite  and  humble  spirit.'  The  Lord  singles  out 
the  humble  soul  of  all  others,  to  make  him  an  habitation  for  himself 
Here  is  a  wonder  !  God  is  on  high  ;  and  yet  the  higher  a  man  lifts  up 
himself,  the  farther  he  is  from  God ;  and  the  lower  a  man  humbles 
himself,  the  nearer  he  is  to  God.  Of  all  souls,  God  delights  most  to 
dwell  with  the  humble,  for  they  do  most  prize  and  best  improve  his 
precious  presence. 

In  Prov.  xxix.  23,  *  A  man's  pride  shall  bring  him  low,  but  honour 
shall  uphold  the  humble  in  spirit.  Prov.  xxii.  4,  *  By  humility  and  the 
fear  of  the  Lord  are  riches  and  honour,'  &c.  The  Hebrew  is,  '  The  heel 
of  humility.'  Riches  and  honour  follow  humility  at  the  very  heels. 
One  of  the  ancients  used  to  say  that  humility  is  the  first,  second,  and 
third  grace  of  a  Christian.^  Humility  is  a  very  drawing  grace ;  it  draws 
men  to  think  well  and  speak  well  of  Christ,  the  gospel,  and  the  people 
of  God ;  it  makes  the  very  world  to  say.  Ay,  these  are  Christians 
indeed ;  they  are  fuU  of  light,  and  yet  full  of  lowliness  ;  they  are  high 
in  worth,  and  yet  humble  in  heart.  Oh,  these  are  the  crown  and  the 
glory  of  religion.' 

An  humble  soul  is  like  the  violet,  that  by  its  fragrant  smell  draws 
the  eye  and  the  hearts  of  others  to  him.  Mat.  xviii.  4,  *  They  are  the 
greatest  in  the  kingdom  of  heaven.'  He  that  is  least  in  his  own  account 
is  always  greatest  in  God's,  and  in  good  men's  account. 

(4.)  The  fourth  motive  is  this,  consider  all  the  world  cannot  keep 
him  up,  that  doth  not  keep  down  his  own  spirit. 

One  asked  a  philosopher,  what  God  was  a-doing  1  He  answered, 
*  That  his  whole  work  was  to  lift  up  the  humble,  and  to  cast  down  the 
proud.'*  That  man  cannot  possibly  be  kept  up,  whose  spirit  is  not  kept 
down,  as  you  may  clearly  see  in  Pharaoh,  Haman,  Herod,  and  Nebuchad- 
nezzar ;  all  the  world  could  not  keep  them  up,  because  their  spirit  was 
not  kept  down. 

'  It  is  reported  of  the  crystal,  that  it  hath  such  a  virtue  in  it,  that  the  very  touching 
of  it  quickens  other  stones,  and  puts  a  lustre  and  beauty  upon  them.  So  does  humility 
put  a  lustre  upon  every  grace. 

^  Augustine.     Cf.  our  Index  under  IlumiUty  for  other  references. — G, 

'  Vis  magnus  esse  ?  incipe  ah  imo,  wilt  thou  be  great  ?  begin  from  below,  saith  the  father. 

*   Totam  ipsius  oceupationem  esse  in  elevatione  humilium,  et  superborum  dcjectione. 


32  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

Prov.  xxix.  27,  '  A  man's  pride  shall  bring  him  low  ;'  for  it  sets  God 
against  him,  and  angels  against  him,  and  men  against  him ;  yea,  even 
those  that  are  as  proud  as  himself.  It  is  very  observable,  that  whereas 
one  drunkard  loves  another,  one  swearer  loves  another,  and  one  thief 
loves  another,  and  one  unclean  person  loves  another,  &c.,  yet  one  proud 
person  cannot  endure  another,  but  seeks  to  undermine  him,  that  he 
alone  may  bear  the  bell,  and  carry  the  commendations,  the  praise,  the 
promotion.  It  is  storied  of  the  Romans,  that  were  the  proudest  people 
on  the  earth,  that  they  reckoned  it  as  a  parcel  of  their  praise,  that  they 
brought  down  the  proud.  All  the  world,  sirs,  will  not  keep  up  those 
persons  that  do  not  keep  down  their  spirits.^ 

Proud  Valerian,  the  Roman  emperor,  fell  from  being  an  emperor  to 
be  a  footstool  to  Sapor,  king  of  Persia,  as  oft  as  he  took  horse. 

Henry  the  Fourth,  emperor,  in  sixty-two  battles,  had  generally  the 
better,  and  yet  was  deposed,  and  driven  to  that  misery,  that  he  desired 
only  a  clerkship  in  a  house  at  Spira,  that  himself  had  built.  And  oh  ! 
that  professors  would  think  of  this  in  these  days  in  which  we  live.  All 
the  world  shall  not  keep  up  those  which  do  not  keep  down  their  own 
spirits.  The  very  design  of  God  is  to  stain  the  pride  of  all  glory,  and 
to  bring  into  contempt  the  honourable  of  the  earth.  Therefore  now  if 
men  in  our  days  shall  grow  proud  and  high,  under  mercies  and  divine 
appearances,  justice  will  be  above  them,  and  turn  their  glory  into  shame, 
and  lay  their  honour  in  the  dust.  If  your  blood  rises  with  your  out- 
ward good,  you  will  certainly  fall,  and  great  will  be  your  fall. 

(5.)  The  fifth  consideration  to  provoke  us  to  be  humble  is  this  :  let  us 
have  always  our  eye  fixed  upon  the  example  of  Jesus  Christ,  and  his 
humble  and  lowly  carmage. 

Christ  by  his  example  labours  to  provoke  his  disciples  to  keep  humble, 
and  to  walk  lowly:  in  John  xiii.  4,  5,  12,  13,  14,  15  verses  compared. 
He  rises  and  washes  his  disciples'  feet,  &c.,  and  mark  what  he  aims  at 
in  that  carriage  of  his,  verse  12-14  :  'Know  ye  what  I  have  done  unto 
you,'  saith  he ;  *  Ye  call  me  Master  and  Lord,  and  ye  say  well,  for  so  I 
am  ;  if  I  then,  your  Lord  and  Master,  have  washed  your  feet,  ye  also 
ought  to  wash  one  another's  feet ;  for  I  have  given  you  an  example, 
that  you  should  do  as  I  have  done  to  you.'  I  have  given  you  an  ex- 
ample, saith  Christ,  and  I  would  have  you  to  imitate  my  example. 
Example  is  the  most  powerful  rhetoric ;  the  highest  and  noblest  example 
should  be  very  quickening  and  provoking.  Oh  !  here  you  have  the 
greatest,  the  noblest  example  of  humility,  that  was  ever  read  or  heard 
of.  Upon  consideration  of  this  great  and  eminent  example  of  Christ's 
humility,  Guericus,  a  good  man,  cried  out.  Thou  hast  overcome  me,  O 
Lord  !  thou  hast  overcome  my  pride.  This  example  of  thine  hath  mas- 
tered me.  Oh  that  we  could  say  with  this  good  man,  Thou  hast  over- 
come, 0  Lord !  thou  hast  overcome  our  proud  hearts,  by  this  example 
thou  hast  overmastered  our  lofty  spirits. 

This  example  of  Christ's  humility  you  have  further  set  forth,  Philip, 
ii.  6-8,  'Who  being  in  the  form  of  God,'  that  is,  in  the  nature  and 
essence  of  God,  being  very  God,  clothed  with  divine  glory  and  majesty 
as  God,  '  thought  it  no  robbery/  it  being  his  right  by  nature,  '  to  be 

^  Dionysius,  a  proud  king  of  Sicily,  foil  from  a  king  to  a  schoolmaster.  History  is  full 
of  such  instances. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  33 

equal  with  God/  The  Greek  words  that  are  rendered,  '  he  thought  it 
DO  robbery/  do  import,  he  made  it  not  a  matter  of  triumph  or  ostentar- 
tion  to  be  equal  with  God,  it  being  his  right  by  nature,  and  therefore 
the  challenging  of  it  could  be  no  usurpation  of  another's  right,  of 
taking  to  himself  that  which  was  not  his  own.  'He  thought  it  no  rob- 
bery to  be  equal  with  God/  The  Greek  is  equals,  that  is,  every  way, 
equal,  not  a  secondary  and  inferior  God,  as  the  Arians  would  have 
him.  '  But  made  himself  of  no  reputation,'  verse  7.  The  Greek  is 
*  emptied  himself,'  that  is,  he  suspended  and  laid  aside  his  glory  and 
majesty,  or  dis-robed  himself  of  his  glory  and  dignity,  and  became  a 
sinner,  both  by  imputation  and  by  reputation,  for  our  sakes. 

And  verse  8,  '  he  humbled  himself  This  Sun  of  righteousness  went 
ten  degrees  back  in  the  dial  of  his  Father,  that  he  might  come  to  us 
with  healing  under  his  wings.  *  And  became  obedient  unto  death,  even 
the  death  of  the  cross.'  In  these  words  there  is  a  kind  of  gradation  ; 
for  it  is  more  to  become  obedient  than  to  humble  himself ;  and  more  to 
yield  unto  death  than  to  become  obedient ;  and  yet  more  to  be  crucified 
than  simply  to  die ;  for  it  was  to  submit  himself  to  a  most  painful, 
ignominious,  and  cursed  death.  *  He  became  obedient.'  That  is,  saith 
Beza,  '  to  his  dying  day,'  his  whole  life  being  nothing  but  a  con- 
tinual death. ^ 

I  have  read  of  an  earl  called  Eleazarus,  that  being  given  to  immo- 
derate anger,  was  cured  of  that  disordered  affection  by  studying  of 
Christ  and  his  patience ;  he  still  dwelt  upon  the  meditation  of  Christ 
and  his  patience,  till  he  found  his  heart  transformed  into  the  simili- 
tude of  Jesus  Christ.  And  oh  !  that  you  would  never  leave  pondering 
upon  that  glorious  example  of  Christ's  humility,  till  your  hearts  be 
made  humble,  like  the  heart  of  Christ.  Oh !  that  that  sweet  word  of 
Christ,  Mat.  xi.  29,  might  stick  upon  all  your  hearts,  'Take  my  yoke 
upon  you,  and  learn  of  me  ;  for  I  am  meek  and  lowly,  and  you  shall  find 
rest  to  your  souls.' 

Bonaventure  engraved  this  sweet  saying  of  our  Lord,  *  Learn  of  me, 
for  I  am  meek  and  lowly  in  heart,'  in  his  study  ;  and  oh  that  this  saying 
was  engraven  upon  all  your  foreheads,  upon  all  your  hearts  !  Oh  that 
it  was  engraven  upon  the  dishes  you  eat  in,  the  cups  you  drink  in,  the 
seats  you  sit  on,  the  beds  you  lie  on,  &c.'' 

Jerome  having  read  the  religious  life  and  death  of  flilarion,  folding 
up  the  book,  said,  Well !  Hilarion  shall  be  the  champion  whom  I  will 
imitate.  Oh  !  when  you  look  upon  this  glorious  example  of  Christ, 
say,  The  Lord  Jesus  his  example  shall  be  that  that  my  soul  shall 
imitate. 

(6.)  Sixthly,  consider  Humility  will  free  a  man  from  perturbations 
and  distempers. 

When  there  are  never  such  great  storms  without,  humility  will  cause 
a  calm  within.  There  are  a  great  many  storms  abroad,  and  there  is 
nothing  will  put  the  soul  into  a  quiet  condition  but  humility.  An 
humble  soul  saith,  Who  am  I,  that  I  may  not  be  despised  ?     Who  am  I, 

*  Annot.  in  loco,  as  before. — G- 

*  It  was  a  good  law  that  the  Ephesians  made,  that  men  should  propound  to  themselves 
the  best  patterns,  and  ever  bear  in  mind  some  eminent  man. 

VOL.  III.  G 


34  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

that  I  may  not  be  reproached,  abused,  slighted,  neglected?  That 
which  will  break  a  proud  man's  heart,  will  not  so  much  as  break  an 
humble  man's  sleep.  In  the  midst  of  a  storm,  an  humble  soul  is  still 
in  a  calm.  When  proud  hearts  are  at  their  wit's  ends,  stamping, 
swearing,  and  swaggering  at  God,  and  man,  and  providence,  an  humble 
soul  is  quiet  and  still,  like  a  ship  in  a  harbour.  Shimei,  2  Sam.  xvi. 
6,  13,  comes  railing  and  cursing  of  David,  and  calls  him  a  bloody  man, 
and  a  man  of  Belial,  that  is,  a  runnagado,  one  who  being  desperately 
wicked  had  shaken  off  the  yoke  of  government,  and  would  be  under  no 
law.  So  the  Hebrew  word  Jagnat,  signifies  men  without  yoke,  or  lawless. 
Therefore  the  Septuagint  commonly  translate  it  'ragavo/^oj,  altogether 
irregular.  It  signifies  most  flagitious  men,  and  notorious  and  des- 
perately wicked,  stigmatized  villains,  even  incarnate  devils ;  and  yet 
David  holds  his  peace,  though  provoked  by  his  mighty  men  to  revenge 
himself  Oh !  how  would  this  cursing  and  railing  have  madded  and 
broken  many  a  proud  man's  heart ;  and  yet  it  stirs  not  David. 

Fulgentius,  after  he  was  extremely  persecuted,  he  had  an  advantage 
to  seek  revenge,  but  he  would  not;  for,  saith  he,  plura  pro  Christo 
toleranda,  we  must  suffer  more  for  Christ  than  so.  What  though  I  am 
thus  and  thus  wronged?  What  though  I  have  an  opportunity  for 
revenge  ?  yet  I  must  suffer  more  than  so  for  Christ,  says  the  humble 
soul.  An  humble  soul,  when  wrongs  are  offered  him,  is  like  a  man 
with  a  sword  in  one  hand  and  salve  in  another ;  he  could  kill  but  will 
cure. 

One  wondering  at  the  patience  and  humble  carriage  of  Socrates, 
towards  one  that  reviled  him,  Socrates  said.  If  we  should  meet  one 
whose  body  were  more  unsound  than  ours,  should  we  be  angry  with  him, 
and  not  rather  pity  him  ?  Why  then  should  we  not  do  the  like  to 
him  whose  soul  is  more  diseased  than  ours  ?  An  humble  soul,  when 
he  meets  with  this  and  that  wrong  from  men,  he  knows  that  their 
souls  are  diseased,  and  that  rather  moves  him  to  pity  than  to  revenge 
wrongs  offered.  A  proud  heart  swells  and  grows  big,  when  in  the  least 
wronged,  and  is  ready  to  call  for  fire  from  heaven,  and  to  take  any 
opportunity  for  revenge  of  wrongs  offered.  No  man  so  abused  as  I,  no 
man  thus  styled  as  I,  says  the  proud  soul.  Oh,  but  an  humble  soul  in 
patience  possesses  himself  in  all  trials  and  storms. 

Gallasius  observes  upon  Exod.  xxii.  28,  the  patience  and  humble  car- 
riage of  those  three  emperors,  Theodosius,Honorius,  and  Arcadius,  towards 
those  that  spake  evil  of  them  ;  they  would  have  them  subject  to  no  pun- 
ishment ;  for  they  said.  If  it  come  from  lightness  of  spirit,  it  is  to  be  con- 
temned; if  from  madness,  it  is  worthy  of  pity ;  if  from  injury,  it  is  to 
be  forgiven  ;  for  injuries  and  wrongs  are  to  be  pardoned.^  And  this  is 
the  true  temper  of  an  humble  soul,  and  by  this  he  enjoys  peace  and 
quiet  in  the  midst  of  all  earthquakes  and  heartquakes. 

(7.)  The  seventh  consideration  is  this,  consider  humility  exalteth. 

He  that  is  most  humble,  is  and  shall  be  most  exalted  and  most 
honoured.  No  way  to  be  high,  like  this  of  being  low.  Moses  was  the 
meekest  man  on  earth,  and  God  made  him  the  honourablest,  calling  of 
him  up  unto  himself  into  the  mount,  making  known  his  glory  to  him, 
and  making  of  him  the  leader  of  his  people  Israel.  Gideon  was  very 
'  Willet  on  Exodus  xxviii.  Qu.  51.    [1618,  folio.— G.] 


EpH.  hi.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  85 

little  in  his  own  eyes ;  he  was  the  least  of  his  father's  house  in  his  own 
apprehension,  and  God  exalts  him,  making  him  the  deliverer  of  his 
Israel. 

It  was  a  good  saying  of  one,  Wilt  thou  be  great  ?  begin  from  below. 
As  the  roots  of  the  tree  descend,  so  the  branches  ascend.  The  lower 
any  man  is  in  this  sense,  the  higher  shall  that  man  be  raised.  Mat. 
xxiii.  12,  'And  whosoever  shall  exalt  himself  shall  be  abased  ;  and  he 
that  shall  humble  himself  shall  be  exalted.'  God,  that  is  wisdom  itself, 
hath  said  it,  and  he  will  make  it  good,  though  thou  seest  no  ways  how 
it  should  be  made  good.  The  lowest  valleys  have  the  blessing  of 
fruitfulness,  while  the  high  mountains  are  barren  ;  Prov.  xviii.  12, 
'  Before  destruction,  the  heart  of  man  is  lofty,  and  before  honour  is 
humility.' 

David  came  not  to  the  kingdom  till  he  could  truly  say,  '  Lord,  my 
heart  is  not  haughty,  nor  mine  eyes  lifted  up,'  Ps.  cxxxi.  ],  2.  Abigail 
was  not  made  David's  wife  till  she  thought  it  honour  enough  to  wash 
the  feet  of  the  meanest  of  David's  servants,  1  Sam.  xxv.  Moses  must 
be  forty  years  a  stranger  in  Midian,  before  he  became  king  in  Jeshurun ; 
he  must  be  struck  sick  to  death  in  the  inn,  before  he  goes  to  Pharaoh 
on  that  noble  embassage. 

It  was  a  sweet  observation  of  Luther,  '  That  for  the  most  part  when 
God  set  him  upon  any  special  service  for  the  good  of  the  church,  he  was 
brought  low  by  some^fit  of  sickness  or  other .'^  Surely,  as  the  lower  the 
ebb,  the  higher  the  tide;  so  the  lower  any  descend  in  humility,  the 
higher  they  shall  ascend  in  honour  and  glory.  The  lower  this  founda- 
tion of  humility  is  laid,  the  higher  shall  the  roof  of  honour  be  overlaid. 
If  you  would  turn  spiritual  purchasers  of  honour,  or  of  whatsoever  else 
is  good,  no  way  like  this  of  humility.  We  live  in  times  wherein  men 
labour  to  purchase  honour ;  some  by  their  money,  others  by  their 
friends  ;  others  by  making  themselves  slaves  to  the  lusts  of  men;  others 
by  being  prodigal  of  their  blood,  and  many  by  giving  themselves  up  to 
all  manner  of  baseness  and  wickedness,  whereby  their  carnal  ends  may 
be  attained,  and  themselves  exalted ;  but  these  men  and  their  honour 
will  quickly  be  laid  in  the  dust.  Oh !  but  the  readiest,  the  surest,  the 
safest,  the  sweetest  way  to  attain  to  true  honour,  is  to  be  humble,  to 
lie  low.  Humility  makes  a  man  precious  in  the  eye  of  God.  He  that 
is  little  in  his  own  account,  is  great  in  God's  esteem.^ 

(8.)  The  eighth  and  last  consideration  that  I  shall  propound  is  this, 
consider  humility  keeps  the  soul  free  from  many  darts  of  Satan's 
casting,  and  snares  of  his  spreading. 

As  you  may  see  in  the  three  children  in  Daniel,  and  in  those  worthies 
in  the  1 1  th  of  the  Hebrews,  *  of  whom  this  world  was  not  worthy.'  As 
the  lowest  shrubs  are  freed  from  many  violent  gusts  and  blasts  of 
wind,  which  shake  and  rend  the  tallest  cedars ;  so  the  humble  soul  is 
free  from  a  world  of  temptations,  that  proud  and  lofty  souls  are  shaken 
and  torn  in  pieces  with.  The  devil  hath  least  power  to  fasten  a  temp- 
tation upon  an  humble  soul.  He  that  hath  a  gracious  measure  of 
humility,  is  neither  affected  with  Satan's  proffers,  nor  terrified  with 

1  In  '  Table  Talk,'  as  before,  often.— G. 

2  Qui  parvus  est  in  reputatione  propria,  magnus  est  in  reputatione  divina. — Gregory  [of 
Nyssa. — G.] 


36  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

Satau's  threateDings.     The  golden  chain  does  not  allure  him,  nor  the 
iron  chain  does  not  daunt  him. 

I  have  read  of  one  who,  seeing  in  a  vision  many  snares  of  Satan 
spread  upon  the  earth,  he  sat  down  and  mourned,  and  said  with  him- 
self, '  Who  shall  pass  through  these  V  whereunto  he  heard  a  voice 
answering,  '  Humility  shall  pass  through  them.'  A  proud  heart  is  as 
easily  conquered  as  tempted,  vanquished  as  assaulted.  But  the  hum- 
ble soul,  when  tempted,  says  with  that  worthy  convert,  '  I  am  not  the 
man  that  1  was.'*  There  was  a  time  when  my  heart  was  proud  and 
lifted  up,  and  then  thou  couldst  no  sooner  knock  but  I  opened ;  no 
sooner  call  but  I  answered ;  no  sooner  tempt  but  I  did  assent.  Oh  ! 
but  now  the  Lord  taught  me  to  be  humble  ;  I  can  resist,  though  I  can- 
not dispute  ;  I  can  fight,  but  not  yield. 

Mistress  Katherine  Bretterge,  an  humble  precious  soul,  being  once 
in  a  great  conflict  with  Satan,  said  thus  to  him,  *  Satan,  reason  not  with 
me,  I  am  but  a  weak  woman ;  if  thou  hast  anything  to  say,  say  it  to 
my  Christ;  he  is  my  advocate,  my  strength,  and  my  redeemer,  and  he 
shall  plead  for  me.^  An  humble  soul  is  good  at  turning  Satan  over  to 
the  Lord  Jesus,  and  this  increases  Satan's  hell.  It  is  reported  of  Satan, 
that  he  should  say  thus  of  a  learned  man,  Tu  me  semper  vincis,  thou 
dost  always  overcome  me ;  when  I  would  throw  thee  down,  thou  liftest 
up  thyself  in  assurance  of  faith  ;  and  when  I  would  exalt  and  promote 
thee,  thou  keepest  thyself  in  humility ;  and  so  thou  art  too  hard  for  me. 
The  only  way  to  avoid  cannon-shot,  as  they  say,  is  to  fall  down  flat ;  no 
such  way  to  be  freed  from  temptations  as  to  keep  low. 

And  so  I  have  done  with  the  first  head  ;  namely,  the  motives  that 
should  move  and  provoke  us  to  keep  humble,  to  be  base,  to  be  nothing 
in  our  own  eyes. 

I  shall  now  come  to  some  helps  and  directions  that  may  be  useful 
to  keep  us  humble  and  low  in  our  own  eyes.     And  the  first  is  this  : 

[1.]  Divell  m^uch  upon  the  greatness  of  God's  mercy  and  goodness 
to  you. 

Nothing  humbles  and  breaks  the  heart  of  a  sinner  like  mercy  and 
love.  Souls  that  converse  much  with  sin  and  wrath  may  be  much  ter- 
rified ;  but  souls  that  converse  much  with  grace  and  mercy  will  be 
much  humbled.  Luke  vii.,  the  Lord  Jesus  shews  mercy  to  that  noto- 
rious sinner,  and  then  she  falls  down  at  his  feet,  and  loves  much  and 
weeps  much,  &c.^  In  the  1  Chron.  xvii.,  it  was  in  the  heart  of  David 
to  build  God  a  house.  God  would  not  have  him  to  do  it,  yet  the  mes- 
senger must  tell  David  that  God  would  build  him  a  house,  and  estab- 
lish his  Son  upon  the  throne  for  ever.  Look  into  the  1 5th,  16th,  and  1 7th 
verses,  and  there  you  shall  find  that  David  lets  fall  such  an  humble 
speech,  which  he  never  did  before  that  God  had  sent  him  that  message 
of  advancement.  '  And  David  the  king  came,  and  sat  before  the  Lord, 
and  said,  Who  am  I,  O  Lord  God  ?  and  what  is  mine  house,  that  thou 
hast  brought  me  hitherto  ?  And  yet  this  was  a  small  thing  in  thine 
eyes,  O  God  ;  for  thou  hast  also  spoken  of  thy  servant's  house  for 
^  Quis  pertransiei  ista  ?  The  answer  was,  HumilUas  pertransiet.  .  .  .  Effo  non  sum 
^90-  ^  As  before  :  see  our  Index  under  Bretterge.— G. 

3  It  is  said  of  Adam,  that  he  turned  his  face  to  the  garden  of  Eden,  and  wept  sore. 
[Query,  by  the  Rabbins?  or  is  it  a  tacit  allusion  to  Milton's  description?  Par.  Lost 
b.  xii.  645 G.]  ' 


EpH.  Ill  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  37 

a  great  while  to  come,'  &c.,  2  Sam.  vii.  18,  19.  And  this  sweetly  and 
kindly  melts  him,  and  humbles  him,  before  the  Lord.  Oh,  if  ever  you 
would  have  your  souls  kept  low,  dwell  upon  the  free  grace  and  love  of 
God  to  you  in  Christ.^  Dwell  upon  the  firstness  of  his  love,  dwell  upon 
the  freeness  of  his  love,  the  greatness  of  his  love,  the  fulness  of  his  love, 
the  unchangeableness  of  his  love,  the  everlastingness  of  his  love,  and 
the  activity  of  his  love.  If  this  do  not  humble  thee,  there  is  nothing 
on  earth  will  do  it.  Dwell  upon  what  God  hath  undertaken  for  you. 
Dwell  upon  the  choice  and  worthy  gifts  that  he  has  bestowed  on  you  ; 
and  dwell  upon  that  glory  and  happiness  that  he  has  prepared  for  you, 
and  then  be  proud  if  you  can. 

[2.]  Secondly,  Keep  faith  in  continual  exercise,  upon  Christ  as 
crucified,  and  upon  Christ  as  glorified. 

There  are  two  special  sights  of  Christ,  that  tend  much  to  humble  and 
abase  a  soul. 

The  one  is  a  sight  of  Christ  in  his  misery,  in  the  12th  of  Zech. 
ver.  10. 

And  the  other  is  a  sight  of  Christ  in  his  glory  (Rev.  i.  7,  Isa.  vi.  1, 
3,  5,  compared).  It  is  dangerous  to  be  more  notion  than  motion ;  to 
have  faith  in  the  head  and  none  in  the  heart  ;  to  have  an  idle  and  not 
an  active  faith.  It  is  not  enough  for  you  to  have  faith,  but  you  must 
look  to  the  acting  of  your  faith,  upon  Christ  as  crucified,  and  upon  Christ 
as  glorified.  Souls  much  in  this  will  be  very  little  and  low  in  their 
own  eyes.  The  great  reason  why  the  soul  is  no  more  humble  is  because 
faith  is  no  more  active.^ 

[3.]  Thirdly,  Study  your  own  natures  more,  and  whatever  evil  you 
behold  in  other  mens  'practices,  labour  to  see  the  same  in  your  own 
nature. 

There  is  the  seed  of  all  sins,  of  the  vilest  and  worst  of  sins,  in  the  best 
of  men.  When  thou  seest  another  drunk,  thou  mayest  see  the  seed  of 
that  sin  in  thy  own  nature.  When  thou  seest  another  unclean,  the 
seeds  of  uncleanness  thou  mayest  see  in  thy  own  nature.  And  in  that 
thou  dost  not  act  uncleanness  as  others,  it  arises  not  from  the  goodness 
of  thy  nature,  but  from  the  riches  of  God's  grace.^  Remember  this, 
there  is  not  a  worse  nature  in  hell  than  that  that  is  in  thee,  and  it 
would  discover  itself  accordingly  ;  if  the  Lord  did  not  restrain  it,  it 
would  carry  thee  to  those  horrid  acts  that  are  against  the  very  light  of 
nature.* 

There  was  one  that  was  a  long  time  tempted  to  three  horrid  sins :  to 
be  drunk,  to  lie  with  his  mother,  and  to  murder  his  father.     Being  a 

'  As  honey  flows  naturally  from  the  bee,  so  does  mercy  flow  naturally  from  God. 

*  As  one  scale  goes  up,  the  other  goes  down ;  so  as  faith  goes  up,  the  heart  goes  down. 
3  Imibria  sued  Scenola,  for  that  he  received  not  his  weapon  deep  enough  into  his 

body. — Augustine.     [Qu.  Scavola? — G.] 

*  I  have  read  of  an  Italian  monster,  who,  taking  his  enemy  upon  an  advantage,  set  his 
dagger  to  his  heart,  and  made  him  to  abjure  and  blaspheme  the  Lord,  that  so  he  might 
save  his  life  ;  which  being  done,  he  thrust  him  through,  and  with  a  bloody  triumph,  in- 
sulting over  him,  said,  Oh,  this  is  right  noble  and  heroical  revenge,  which  doth  not  only 
deprive  the  body  of  temporal  life,  but  bringeth  also  the  immortal  soul  to  endless  flame.s 
everlastingly.  See  what  natures  you  carry  with  you.  Jt  was  a  good  saying  of  one  of  the 
fathers  :  Other  vices  are  in  sins,  saith  he  ;  but  pride  and  high  confidence  is  most  apt  to 
creep  in  upon  duties  well  done.  [Related  in  Wanley's  Wonders,  with  authority,  book 
iv.  c.  xi. — G.] 


38  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

long  time  followed  with  these  horrid  temptations,  at  last  he  thought  to 
get  rid  of  them,  by  yielding  to  that  he  judged  the  least,  and  that  was 
to  be  drunk  ;  but  when  he  was  drunk,  he  did  both  lie  with  his  mother 
and  murder  his  father/  Why,  such  a  hellish  nature  is  in  every  soul 
that  breathes  I  and  did  God  leave  men  to  act  according  to  their  natures, 
men  would  be  all  incarnate  devils,  and  this  world  a  perfect  hell.  Such 
is  the  corruption  of  our  nature,  that  propound  any  divine  good  to  it,  it 
is  entertained  as  fire  by  water  ;  but  propound  any  evil,  and  it  is  like 
fire  to  straw.  It  is  like  the  foolish  satyr  that  made  haste  to  kiss  the 
fire ;  it  is  like  that  unctuous  matter,  which  the  naturalists  say  that  i1 
sucks  and  snatches  the  fire  to  it  with  which  it  is  consumed.  There  wa; 
a  holy  man  that  rarely  heard  of  other  men's  crimson  sins,  but  he  usuall}^ 
bedewed  the  place  with  his  tears,  considering  that  the  seeds  of  those 
very  sins  was  in  his  own  nature.  In  thy  nature  thou  hast  that  that 
would  lead  thee  with  the  pharisees  to  oppose  Christ ;  and  with  Judas, 
to  betray  Christ  ;  and  wdth  Pilate,  to  condemn  Christ  ;  and  with  the 
soldiers,  to  crucify  Christ,  &c.  Oh,  what  a  monster,  what  a  devil 
wouldst  thou  prove,  should  God  but  leave  thee  to  act  suitable  to  that 
sinful  and  woful  nature  of  thine  ! 

[4.]  Fourthly,  Dwell  much  upon  the  imperfection  that  follotvs  and 
cleaves  to  thy  best  actions. 

Oh  the  wanderings  !  Oh  the  deadness,  the  dulness,  the  fruitless- 
ness  of  thy  spirit  in  religious  duties !  Man  is  a  creature  apt  to  hug 
himself  in  religious  services,  and  to  pride  himself  in  holy  duties ;  and 
to  stroke  himself  after  duties,  and  to  warm  himself  by  the  sparks  of  his 
own  fire,  his  own  performances,  though  he  does  lie  down  in  sorrow  for 
it,  Isa.  1.  11.  Whenever  thou  comest  off  from  holy  services,  sit  down, 
and  look  over  the  spots,  blots,  and  blemishes  that  cleave  to  your  choicest 
services.  The  fairest  day  has  its  clouds,  the  richest  jewels  their  flaws, 
the  finest  faces  their  spots,  the  fairest  copies  their  blots,  and  so  have  our 
finest  and  fairest  duties. 

Plutarch  tells  of  a  private  soldier  of  Julius  Caesar's,  who  fought  so 
valiantly  in  Britain,  that  by  his  means  he  saved  the  captains,  which 
otherwise  were  in  great  danger  to  be  cast  away,  being  driven  into  a  bog, 
then  marching  with  great  pain  through  the  mire  and  dirt :  in  the  end 
he  got  to  the  other  side,  but  left  his  shield  behind  him.  Caesar,  won- 
dering at  his  noble  courage,  ran  to  him  with  joy  to  embrace  him  ;  but 
the  poor  soldier,  hanging  down  his  head,  the  water  standing  in  his  eyes, 
fell  down  at  Caesar's  feet,  and  besought  him  to  pardon  him,  for  that  he 
had  left  his  shield  behind  him.^  You  know  how  to  apply  it.  He  had 
done  gallantly,  yet  he  falls  down  at  Caesar's  feet,  after  his  brave  ser- 
vice, with  tears  in  his  eyes,  upon  the  sense  of  his  leaving  his  shield 
behind  him.  When  we  have  done  our  best,  we  have  cause  to  fall  down 
at  Jesus's  feet,  and  with  tears  in  our  eyes  sue  out  our  pardon. 

[5.]  Fifthly,  In  the  day  of  thy  prosperity,  forget  not  thy  former 
poverty. 

In  the  day  of  thy  present  greatness,  forget  not  thy  former  meanness. 
Humble  Jacob,  in  the  day  of  his  prosperity,  remembers  his  former 
poverty :  *  With  my  staff  I  passed  over  Jordan,  and  now  I  am  become 

^  Given  in  <  Precious  Remedies.'     Cf.  Vol.  I.  p.  20,  and  note.— G. 
2  Plutarch.     [Julius  Ccesar  :  Britain.— G,] 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  39 

two  bands,'  Gen.  xxxii.  10.  And  so  David,  in  his  prosperity,  remem- 
bered that  his  sheep-hook  was  changed  into  a  sceptre,  and  his  seat  of 
turf  into  a  royal  throne,  Ps.  Ixxviii.  71,  1  Chron.  xvii.  And  when 
Joseph  was  a  royal  favourite,  he  remembered  that  he  had  been  an  im- 
prisoned slave.  And  when  Gideon  was  raised  to  be  a  saviour  to  Israel, 
he  remembered  how  God  took  him  from  the  threshing-floor,  Judges 
vi.  11,  and  how  God  changed  his  threshing  instrument  of  wood  into 
one  of  iron,  to  thresh  the  mountains,  as  God  himself  phraseth  it, 
Isa.  xli.  15. 

Primislaus,  the  first  king  of  Bohemia,  kept  his  country  shoes  always 
by  him,  to  remember  from  whence  he  was  raised. 

Agathocles,  by  the  furniture  of  his  table,  confessed  that  from  a  potter 
he  was  raised  to  be  a  king  of  Sicily. 

We  live  in  times  wherein  many  a  man  hath  been  raised  from  the 
dunghill  to  sit  with  princes  ;  and  oh  that  such  were  wise  to  remember 
their  former  low  and  contemptible  beings,  and  to  walk  humbly  before 
the  Lord  !  otherwise  who  can  tell  but  that  greater  contempt  shall  be 
poured  forth  upon  them,  than  that  which  they  have  poured  upon 
princes. 

[6.]  Sixthly,  Look  upon  all  that  you  have  received,  and  all  that  you 
shall  hereafter  receive,  as  the  fruit  of  free  grace. 

Look  upon  thy  adoption,  and  write  this  motto,  This  is  the  fruit  of 
free  grace.  Look  upon  thy  justification,  and  write  this  motto.  This  is 
the  fruit  of  free  grace.  Look  upon  all  thy  graces,  and  write.  These 
are  the  fruits  of  free  grace.  Look  upon  thy  experiences,  and  write, 
These  are  the  fruits  of  free  grace.  Look  upon  thy  strength  to  with- 
stand temptations,  and  write,  This  is  the  fruit  of  free  grace.  Look  upon 
divine  power  to  conquer  corruptions,  and  write,  This  is  the  fruit  of  free 
grace.  Look  upon  the  bread  thou  eatest,  the  beer  thou  drinkest,  the 
clothes  thou  wearest,  &c.,  and  write,  These  are  the  fruits  of  free  grace. 
1  Cor.  iv.  7,  '  Who  maketh  thee  to  differ  from  another  ?  and  what  hast 
thou  that  thou  hast  not  received  ?  and  if  thou  hast  received  it,  why 
dost  thou  glory  as  though  thou  hadst  not  received  it  ?'  Who  maketh 
thee  to  differ  ?  Episcopius,  a  great  insolent  Arminian,  answered,  Ego 
me  ipsum  discerno,  I  make  myself  to  differ,  to  wit,  by  the  improve- 
ment of  nature. 

This  age  is  full  of  such  proud  monsters,  ;  but  an  humble  soul  sees 
free  grace  to  be  the  spring  and  fountain  of  all  his  mercies  and  com- 
forts ;  he  writes  free  grace  upon  all  his  temporals,  and  upon  all  his 
spirituals,  &c. 

[7.]  The  seventh  direction  is.  Meditate  much  upon  these  two  things  : 

First,  The  great  mischief  that  sin  hath  done  in  the  world. 

It  cast  angels  out  of  heaven,  and  Adam  out  of  paradise.  It  hath 
lain  the  first  corner-stone  in  hell,  and  ushered  in  all  the  evils  and 
miseries  that  be  in  the  world.  It  hath  threw  down  Abraham,  the  best 
believer  in  the  world;  and  Noah,  the  most  righteous  man  in  the  world; 
and  Job,  the  uprightest  man  in  the  world;  and  Moses,  the  meekest  man 
in  the  world ;  and  Paul,  the  greatest  apostle  in  the  world.  Oh, 
the  diseases,  the  crosses,  the  losses,  the  miseries,  the  deaths,  the  hells, 
that  sin  hath  brought  upon  the  world  ! 

Basil  wept  when  he  saw  the  rose,  because  it  brought  to  his  mind  the 


40  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

first  sin,  from  whence  it  had  the  prickles,  which  it  had  not  while  man 
continued  in  innocenc}^  as  he  thought!  Oh,  when  he  saw  the  prickles 
his  soul  wept ;  so  when  we  see,  hear,  or  read  of  the  blood,  misery,  wars, 
and  ruins  that  sin  has  brought  upon  us,  let  us  weep  and  lie  humble 
before  the  Lord. 

Secondly,  Meditate  much  on  this,  that  many  vnched  men  take 
more  pains  to  daTYin  their  souls  and  go  to  hell,  than  thou  dost  to  save 
thy  soul  and  to  get  to  heaven,  Mat.  xxii.  15. 

Oh,  what  pains  do  wicked  men  take  to  damn  their  souls  and  go  to 
hell !  Lactantius  saith  of  Lucian,  that  he  spared  neither  God  nor  man. 
He  took  pains  to  make  himself  twice  told  a  child  of  wrath,^ 

It  is  said  of  Marcellus,  the  Roman  general,  that  he  could  not  be  quiet, 
nee  victor,  nee  victus,  neither  conquered  nor  conqueror.  Such  restless 
wretches  are  wicked  men.  The  drunkard  rises  up  in  the  morning,  and 
continues  till  midnight,  till  wine  inflame  him,  Isa.  v.  11.  The  unclean 
person  wastes  his  time,  and  strength,  and  estate,  and  all  to  ruin  his 
own  soul. 

Theotimus,  being  told  by  his  physician,  that  if  he  did  not  leave  his 
lewd  courses,  he  would  lose  his  sight,  answered.  Vale  lumen  amicum, 
then  farewell,  sweet  light. ^  What  a  deal  of  pains  does  the  worldling 
take  !  He  rises  up  early,  and  goes  to  bed  late,  and  leaves  no  stone 
unturned,  and  all  to  make  himself  but  the  more  miserable  in  the 
close. 

Pambus,  in  the  Ecclesiastical  History,  wept  when  he  saw  a  harlot 
dressed  with  much  care  and  cost,  partly  to  see  one  take  so  much 
pains  to  go  to  hell,  and  partly  because  he  had  not  been  so  careful  to 
please  God  as  she  had  been  to  please  a  wanton  lover.^  Oh,  sirs  !  what 
reason  have  you  to  spend  your  days  in  weeping  ?  When  you  look 
abroad,  see  what  pains  most  men  take  to  damn  their  souls  and  go  to 
hell,  and  then  consider  what  little  pains  you  take  to  escape  hell,  to  save 
your  souls,  and  go  to  heaven. 

[8.]  Eighthly,  Get  more  internal  and  experimental  knowledge  and 
acquaintance  with  God. 

If  ever  you  would  keep  humble,  no  knowledges  humbles  and  abases 
like  that  which  is  inward  and  experimental.  We  live  in  days  wherein 
there  is  abundance  of  notional  light.  Many  professors  know  much  of 
God  notionally,  but  know  nothing  of  God  experimentally  ;  they  know 
God  in  the  history,  but  know  nothing  of  God  in  the  mystery.  They  know 
much  of  God  in  the  letter,  but  little  or  nothing  of  God  in  the  Spirit ; 
and  therefore  it  is  that  they  are  so  proud  and  high  in  their  own  con- 
ceits, whenas  he  that  experimentally  knows  the  Lord  is  a  worm  and  no 
man  in  his  own  eyes.  As  the  sun  is  necessary  to  the  world,  the  eye  to 
the  body,  the  pilot  to  the  ship,  the  general  to  the  army,  so  is  experi- 
mental knowledge  to  the  humbling  of  a  soul.  Who  more  experimental 
in  their  knowledge  than  David,  Job,  Isaiah,  and  Paul  ?  And  who  are 
more  humble  than  these  worthies  ?* 

*  Such  a  mad  devil  was  Catiline.  2  Ambrose,  as  before. G. 

*  Socrates,  Eccl.  Hist.,  lib  iv.  cap.  28. 

*  It  is  a  sad  tiling  to  be  often  eating  of  the  tree  of  knowledge,  but  never  to  taste  of  the 
tree  of  life.  [The  '  History'  and  '  Mystery'  is  a  favourite  distinction  of  the  Puritan 
divines,  and  is  tdaborately  carried  out  by  Roberts  in  his  extraordinary  and  exceedingly 
rare  folio,  entitled,  '  The  Mystery  and  Marrow  of  the  Bible,'  (1657) ;  and  also  by  Nessun 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  41 

Seneca  observed  of  the  philosophers,  that  when  theygrewmore  learned, 
they  were  less  moral,^  so  a  growth  in  notions  will  bring  a  great  decay  in 
hunulity  and  zeal,  as  it  is  too  evident  in  these  days.  Well,  remember 
this,  a  drop  of  experimental  knowledge  will  more  humble  a  man  than  a 
sea  of  notional  knowledge. 

[9.]  Ninthly,  Look  up  to  a  crucified  Christ  for  special  power  and 
strength  against  the  pride  of  your  hearts.  It  is  sad  in  these  knowing 
times  to  think  how  few  there  are  that  know  the  right  way  of  bringing 
under  the  power  of  any  sin.  Most  men  scarce  look  so  high  as  a  cruci- 
fied Christ  for  power  against  their  powerful  sins.  One  soul  sits  down 
and  complains,  Such  a  lust  haunts  me,  I  will  pray  it  down  ;  another 
saith.  Such  a  sin  follows  me,  and  I  will  hear  it  down,  or  watch  it  down, 
or  resolve  it  down  :  and  so  a  crucified  Christ  is  not  in  all  their  thoughts. 
Not  but  that  you  are  to  hear,  pray,  watch,  and  resolve  against  your 
sins  ;  but  above  all,  you  should  look  to  the  acting  of  faith  upon  a  cruci- 
fied Christ.^  As  he  said  of  the  sword  of  Goliath,  *  None  like  to  that,' 
so  I  say.  None  like  to  this  for  the  bringing  under  the  pride  of  men's 
hearts.  The  weaker  the  house  of  Saul  grew,  the  stronger  the  house  of 
David  grew.  The  weakening  of  your  pride  will  be  the  increase  and 
strengthening  of  your  humility,  and  therefore  what  the  king  of  Syria  said 
unto  his  fifty  captains,  'Fight  neither  with  small  nor  great,  but  with  the 
king  of  Israel,'  so  say  I,  If  you  would  keep  humble,  if  you  will  lie  low,  draw 
forth  your  artillery,  place  your  greatest  strength  against  the  pride  of 
your  souls.  The  death  of  pride  will  be  the  resurrection  of  humility. 
And  that  this  may  stick  upon  you,  I  shall  lay  down  several  proposi- 
tions concerning  pride  ;  and  I  am  so  much  the  more  willing  to  fall  upon 
this  work,  and  to  make  it  the  subject  of  our  discourse  at  this  time, 
because  this  horrid  sin  doth  appear  so  boldly  and  impudently,  and  that 
not  only  among  profane  persons,  but  professors  also.  There  are  ten  pro- 
positions that  1  shall  lay  down  concerning  pride. 

[1.]  And  the  first  is  this,  Of  all  sins  pride  is  most  dangerous  to  the 
souls  of  men. 

Pride  is  a  sin  that  will  put  the  soul  upon  the  worst  of  sins.  Pride 
is  a  gilded  misery,  a  secret  poison,  a  hidden  plague.  It  is  the  engineer 
of  deceit,  the  mother  of  hypocrisy,  the  parent  of  envy,  the  moth  of 
holiness,  the  blinder  of  hearts,  the  turner  of  medicines  into  maladies, 
and  remedies  into  diseases.  It  is  the  original  and  root  of  most  of  those 
notorious  vices  that  be  to  be  found  among  the  children  of  men.  It  was 
pride  that  put  Herod  upon  seeking  the  blood  of  Christ.  It  was  pride 
that  put  the  Pharisees  upon  the  persecuting  of  Christ.  It  was  pride 
that  made  Athaliah  destroy  all  the  seed-royal  of  the  house  of  Judah, 
that  he  might  reign,  2  Chron.  xxi.  10.  It  was  pride  that  put  Joab  upon 
murdering  perfidiously,  under  colour  of  friendship,  Abner,  2  Sam. 
iii.  27,  and  Amasa,  2  Sam.  xx.  9,  10.  Zimri,  out  of  ambition  to  reign, 
murdered  Elah  his  lord,  1  Kings  xvi.  8-10.  Omri,  out  of  pride  and 
ambition  to  reign,  rose   up  against  Zimri,  and  enforced  him  to  burn 

his  not  less  remarkable  and  equally  rare  work,  '  History  and  Mystery'  of  the  Bible,  4 
vols,  folio,  1G96.— G.] 

'  De  Constantia  tiapientis  et  Epistoloe. — G. 

*  Ps.  X.  4.  It  was  the  blood  of  the  sacrifice  and  the  oil  that  cleansed  the  leper  in  the 
law,  and  that  by  them  was  meant  the  blood  of  Christ  and  the  grace  ot  his  Spirit,  is 
agreed  by  all. 


42  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

himself  in  the  king's  palace,  1  Kings  xvi.  18.  It  is  pride  that  hath 
ushered  in  all  the  contentions  that  be  in  towns,  cities,  countries, 
families,  and  pulpits  throughout  the  world.  It  was  pride  and  ambition 
to  reign  that  put  Absalom  upon  pursuing  his  father's  life,  from  whom 
he  had  received  life.^ 

It  is  very  remarkable,  that  the  pride  and  ambition  of  Nebuchad- 
nezzar did  usher  in  the  destruction  of  the  Assyrian  monarchy  ;  and  the 
ambition  and  pride  of  Cyrus  that  did  usher  in  the  overthrow  of  the 
Babylonian  monarchy  ;  and  the  ambition  and  pride  of  Alexander  was 
the  cause  of  the  annihilation  of  the  Persian  monarchy;  and  it  was  the 
pride  and  ambition  of  the  Koman  commanders  that  was  the  cause  of 
the  utter  subversion  of  the  Grecian  monarchy.  There  is  no  tongue  that 
can  express,  nor  heart  that  can  conceive,  the  horrid  sins  and  miseries 
that  pride  hath  ushered  in  among  the  children  of  men.  All  sin  will 
down  with  a  proud  heart  that  is  resolved  to  rise.  Great  sins  are  no  sins 
with  such  a  soul ;  he  makes  nothing  of  those  very  sins  that  would  make 
the  very  heathen  to  blush, 

[2.]  The  second  proposition  that  I  shall  lay  down  concerning  pride 
is  this, 

Where  pride  hath  possessed  itself  thoroughly  of  the  soul,  it  turns 
the  heart  into  steel,  yea,  into  a  rock. 

As  you  may  see  in  Pharaoh.  Pride  turned  his  heart  into  steel,  yea, 
into  a  very  rock.  God  strikes  again  and  again  ;  he  sends  plague  upon 
plague ;  and  yet  the  more  he  is  plagued,  the  more  he  is  hardened. 
His  pride  turned  his  soul  into  a  rock :  he  is  no  more  sensible  of  the 
frowns  of  God,  the  threatenings  of  God,  the  plagues,  the  strokes  of  God, 
than  a  rock.  Pride  had  hardened  his  heart ;  he  stirs  not,  he  yields 
not.2 

It  was  the  pride  of  Saul  that  turned  his  heart  into  steel :  '  I  have 
sinned,'  saith  he,  '  yet  honour  me  before  the  people,'  1  Sam.  xv.  30. 
God  gave  him  many  a  blow,  many  a  knock,  and  many  a  check,  and 
yet,  after  all,  '  Honour  me  before  the  people.'  Oh  how  desperately  was 
his  heart  hardened  in  pride  !  In  Dan.  v.  1 8,  Nebuchadnezzar's  mind, 
saith  the  text,  '  was  hardened  in  pride.'  He  saw  the  vengeance  of  the 
Almighty  upon  his  predecessors,  and  God  took  him  up,  and  lashed  him 
till  the  blood  came,  and  yet  he  made  nothing  of  it,  because  his  heart 
was  hardened  in  pride.  Pride  sets  a  man  in  opposition  against  God. 
Other  sins  are  aversions  from  God,  but  this  sin  is  a  coming  against  God. 
In  other  sins  a  man  flies  from  God,  but  in  this  sin  a  man  flies  upon 
God :  James  iv.  6,  '  God  resisteth  the  proud.'  A  man  doth  not  resist 
another  till  he  is  set  upon  ;  the  traveller  doth  not  resist  until  such  time 
as  the  thief  sets  upon  him.  Saith  the  text,  '  God  resisteth  the  proud.' 
It  intimates  thus  much  to  us,  that  the  proud  heart  sets  upon  God  him- 
self, and  therefore  God  resists  him.  The  Greek  word  is  dvTirdffsirai ; 
he  places  himself  in  battle  array  against  the  proud.  God  brings  forth 
his  battalia  against  the  proud,  and  they  bring  forth  their  battalia 
against  God.    A  proud  heart  resists,  and  is  resisted;  this  isduro  durum, 

'  A  world  of  instances  out  of  histories  might  be  given,  if  it  were  needful,  further  to 
evidence  this  truth. 

Proud  souls  are  of  his  mind  that  said,  J)fon  persuadebis,  etiam  si  persuaseris,  thougli 
you  do  convince  me,  yet.  will  1  not  be  convinced. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  43 

flint  to  flint,  fire  to  fire;  yet  in  the  day  of  God's  wrath  the  proud  shall 
be  burnt  up  as  stubble,  both  branch  and  root,  Mai.  iv.  1. 
[3.]  The  third  proposition  concerning  pride  is  this, 
Pride  is  a  sin  that  shales  forth  and  shews  itself  not  one  way,  but 
many  ways. 
For  instance, 

First,  Sometimes  it  shews  itself  in  the  looks,  Prov.  vi.  17:  he  tells 
you  of  seven  things  that  the  Lord  hates,  and  one  is  a  proud  look.  The 
Hebrew  word  there  is,  '  The  haughty  eye.'  The  haughty  eye  God  hates. 
Men's  hearts  usually  shew  themselves  in  their  eyes  :  Ps.  cxxxi.  1,  '  Mine 
heart  is  not  haughty,  nor  mine  eye  lofty.'  There  be  such  who  shew 
pride  in  their  very  looks,  but  the  Lord  looks  aloof  at  them,  Ps. 
cxxxviii.  6.^ 

Secondly,  Sometimes  pride  shews  itself  in  words :  Dan.  iv.  30,  '  Is  not 
this  great  Babylon  that  I  have  built,  for  the  house  of  the  kingdom,  by 
the  might  of  my  power,  and  for  the  honour  of  my  majesty?'  and  in 
chap.  iii.  15,  '  Who  is  that  God  that  shall  deliver  you  out  of  my  hands?' 
It  was  a  very  proud  saying  of  one,  Coelum  gratis  non  accipiam,  I  will 
not  have  heaven  but  at  a  rate  ;  and  of  another,  *  We  have  not  so  lived 
and  deserved  of  God  that  the  enemy  should  vanquish  us.'  These  were 
the  proud  ones,  that  spake  loftily,  and  that  set  their  mouths  against  the 
heavens,  as  the  psalmist  speaks,  Ps.  Ixxiii.  6,  8,  9,  compared.  And 
such  a  one  was  Henry  the  Second.  Hearing  that  his  city  Mentz  was 
taken,  he  used  this  proud  blasphemous  speech,  '  I  shall  never  love  God 
any  more,  that  suffered  a  city  so  dear  to  me  to  be  taken  away  from  me.' 
Such  a  proud  wretch,  both  in  words  and  actions,  was  Sennacherib,  aa 
you  may  see  in  Isa.  xxxvii.,  from  ver.  8  to  18. 

Thirdly,  Sometimes  pride  shews  itself  in  the  habit  of  the  body ;  so 
Herod's  pride  appeared  :  Acts  xii.  21,  Herod  was  '  arrayed  in  royal  ap- 
parel.' In  cloth  of  silver,  saith  Josephus,^  which,  being  beaten  upon  by 
the  sunbeams,  dazzled  the  people's  eyes,  and  drew  from  them  that  blas- 
phemous acclamation,  '  It  is  the  voice  of  God,  and  not  of  man.'  The 
people  being  most  commonly  like  the  Bohemian  curs,  that  used  to  fawn, 
upon  a  good  suit ;  so  the  rich  man,  Luke  xvi.  19,  was  clothed  in  purple, 
xa/  ^{jGffov,  and  in  silk.  He  was  commonly  so  clothed  ;  it  was  his  every- 
day's  wear,  as  the  Greek  word  hsdidvoxsro  implieth. 

Quest.  But  here  a  question  may  be  asked.  May  not  persons  habit 
themselves  according  to  their  dignities,  ranks,  and  places  that  God  hath 
put  them  in  in  the  world  ? 

Atis.  1  answer,  They  may,  and  ought  so  to  do.  If  God  hath  lifted 
them  up  in  the  world  above  others,  they  may  wear  better  apparel  than 
others,  Gen.  xli.  42,  Esther  vi.  8,  Ps.  xlv.  13,  14,  2  Sam.  xiii.  18,  Lam. 
iv.  5,  Mat.  xi.  8,  Gen.  xxvii.  15,  Isa.  Iii.  1,  Hosea  ii.  13,  Exod.  xxviii.  40. 
I  cite  these  scriptures  so  much  the  rather,  because  some,  through  weak- 
ness and  peevishness,  stumble  and  are  not  satisfied  herein.  There  is 
nothing  in  the  law  of  God  or  nature  against  it. 

Quest.  But  you  may  say.  May  not  persons  sin  in  their  apparel  ? 

Ans.  I  answer,  Yes,  and  that  in  four  cases. 

[1.]  When  it  is  not  modest,  but  carries  with  it  provocation  to  lust 

^  Frofecto  ocuUs  animus  inhabitat. — Pliny.   [Of.  Nat.  Hist.,  lib  xi.  cap.  54,  et  alibi. — G.] 
2  Anttq.,  xix.  8,  2.— G. 


44?  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

and  wantonness :  Prov.  vii.  10,  '  There  met  the  young  man  a  woman 
in  the  attire  of  an  harlot.'  The  Hebrew  word  signifies  a  habit  or  or- 
nament finely  set-  and  fitted  to  the  body ;  and  saith  the  text,  '  She 
was  subtle  of  heart,'  or  trussed  up  about  the  breasts,  with  her  upper 
parts  naked  ;  so  Levi-Ben-Gersom  reads  the  words,  '  She  met  him  with 
her  naked  breasts,'  at  this  day  too  commonly  used  by  such  as  would 
not  be  held  harlots.  Oh  what  a  horrid  shame  and  reproach  is  it  to 
religion,  the  ways  of  God,  and  the  people  of  God,  that  professors  should 
go  so  !  One  saith  '  that  superfluous  apparel  is  worse  than  whoredom, 
because  whoredom  only  corrupts  chastity,  but  this  corrupts  nature.' 
Another  saith,  *  If  women  adorn  themselves  so  as  to  provoke  men  to 
lust  after  them,  though  no  ill  follow  upon  it,  yet  those  women  shall 
suffer  eternal  damnation,  because  they  offered  poison  to  others,  though 
none  should  drink  of  it.'^ 

[2]  Persons  sin  in  their  apparel  whenas  they  exceed  their  degree 
and  rank  in  costly  apparel,  which  is  that  which  is  condemned  by  the 
apostle,  1  Tim.  ii.  9,  1  Pet.  iii.  3.  The  apostle  doth  not  simply  condemn 
the  wearing  of  gold,  but  he  condemns  it  in  those  that  go  above  their 
degree  and  rank.  The  words  are  rather  an  admonition  than  a  pro- 
hibition. 

[3.]  It  is  sinful  when  it  is  so  expensive  as  that  it  hinders  works  of 
mercy  and  charity.  Oh  how  many  proud  souls  be  there  in  these  days 
that  lay  so  much  upon  their  backs,  that  they  can  spare  nothing  to  fill 
the  poor's  bellies.  '  Silk  doth  quench  the  fire  of  the  kitchen,'  saith  the 
French  proverb.  The  meaning  is,  that  it  doth  hinder  works  of  charity 
and  mercy.  Surely  those  that  put  on  such  costly  ornaments  upon  their 
backs  as  close  up  the  hand  of  charity,  will  at  last  share  with  Dives  in 
his  misery. 

[4.]  When  persons  habit  themselves  in  strange  and  foreign  fashions, 
which  is  the  sin,  shame,  and  reproach  of  many  among  us  in  these  days. 
Now  that  is  strange  apparel  which  is  not  peculiar  to  the  nations  where 
men  live.  The  Lord  threatens  to  punish  such,  Zeph.  i.  8,  that  are 
clothed  with  strange  apparel.  There  are  too  many  women  and  men  in 
our  days  that  are  like  the  Egyptian  temples,  very  gypsies,  painted  with- 
out and  spotted  within;  varnish  without  and  vermin  within. 

Mercury  being  to  make  a  garment  for  the  moon,  as  one  saith,  could 
never  fit  her,  but  either  the  garment  would  be  too  big  or  too  little,  by 
reason  she  was  always  increasing  or  decreasing.  May  not  this  be  ap- 
plied to  the  vain  curiosity  of  too  too  many  professors  in  these  days, 
whose  curiosity  about  their  clothes  can  never  be  satisfied  ? 

I  shall  conclude  this  head  with  this  counsel :  Clothe  yourselves  with 
the  silk  of  piety,  with  the  satin  of  sanctity,  and  with  the  purple  of  mo- 
desty, and  God  himself  will  be  a  suitor  to  you.  Let  not  the  ornaments 
upon  your  backs  speak  out  the  vanity  of  your  hearts. 

Foui'thly,  Sometimes  pride  shews  itself  by  the  gesture  and  carriage 
of  the  body.  Isa.  iii.  16,  The  daughters  of  Sion  'were  haughty,  and 
walked  with  stretched  out  necks  and  wanton  eyes,  walking  and  mincing 
as  they  go,  making  a  tinkling  with  their  feet.'  Oh  earth  !  earth  !  dost 
thou  not  groan  to  bear  such  monsters  as  these? 

^  These  and  even  more  vehement  rebukes  will  be  found  in  Thomas  Hall's  '  Loathe- 
Bomeuess  of  Long  Hair,'  &c.    1654. — G. 


I 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  45 

Fifthly,  And  sometimes  pride  shews  itself  in  contemptuous  challenges 
of  God  ;  as  Pharoah,  '  Who  is  the  God  of  the  Hebrews,  that  I  should 
obey  him  V 

Sixthly,  Sometimes  pride  shews  itself  by  bragging  promises,  '  I  will 
arise,  I  will  pursue,  I  will  overtake,  I  will  divide  the  spoil,  and  my  lusts 
shall  be  satisfied,'  Exod.  xv.  9. 

[4. 1  The  fourth  proposition  that  I  shall  lay  down  is  this : 

Pride  is  a  sin  that  of  all  sins  makes  a  man  or  woman  vnost  like 
to  Satan. 

Pride  is  morbus  Satanicus,  Satan's  disease.  Pride  is  so  base  a  dis- 
ease, that  God  had  rather  see  his  dearest  children  to  be  buffeted  by 
Satan,  than  that  in  pride  they  should  be  like  to  Satan.  When  Paul, 
2  Cor.  xii.  7,  under  the  abundance  of  revelations,  was  in  danger  of  being 
puffed  up,  the  Lord,  rather  than  he  would  havfe  him  proud  like  to  Satan, 
suffers  him  to  be  buffeted  by  Satan.  Humility  makes  a  man  like  to 
angels,  and  pride  makes  an  angel  a  devil.  Pride  is  worse  than  the  devil, 
for  the  devil  cannot  hurt  thee  till  pride  hath  possessed  thee.  If  thou 
would  see  the  devil  limned  to  the  life,  look  upon  a  proud  soul ;  for  as 
face  answers  to  face,  so  doth  a  proud  soul  answer  to  Satan.  Proud  souls 
are  Satan's  apes,  and  none  imitate  him  to  the  life  like  these.  And  oh 
that  they  were  sensible  of  it,  before  it  be  too  late,  before  the  door  of 
darkness  be  shut  upon  them  ! 

[5.]  A  fifth  proposition  is  this  : 

Pride  cannot  climb  so  high,  but  justice  will  sit  above  her. 

One  asked  a  philosopher  what  God  was  a-doing  ?  He  answered,  That 
his  whole  work  was  to  exalt  the  humble  and  pull  down  the  proud.  It 
was  pride  that  turned  angels  into  devils  ;  they  would  be  above  others  in 
heaven,  and  therefore  God  cast  them  down  to  hell.  Pride,  saith  Hugo, 
was  born  in  heaven,  but  forgetting  by  what  way  she  fell  from  thence, 
she  could  never  find  the  way  thither  again.  The  first  man  would  know 
as  God,  and  the  Babel-builders  would  dwell  as  God,  but  justice  set  above 
them  all.  This  truth  you  see  verified  in  the  justice  of  God  upon  Pharaoh, 
Haman,  Herod,  Belshazzar,  and  Nebuchadnezzar ;  all  these  would  be 
very  high,  but  justice  takes  the  right  hand  of  them  all,  and  brings  them 
down  to  the  dust.  Yea,  pride  cannot  climb  so  high  in  the  hearts  of 
saints,  but  divine  justice  will  be  above  it.  Uzziah  his  heart  was  lifted 
up,  2  Chron.  xxvi.  16,  but  justice  smites  him  with  a  leprosy,  and  so  he 
died,  out  of  grief  and  sorrow,  saith  Josephus.^  David  glories  in  his  own 
gi-eatness,  2  8am.  xxiv.  1,  seq.,  and  for  this  seventy  thousand  fall  by  the 
hand  of  justice.  Hezekiah's  heart  was  lifted  up,  but  wrath  was  upon 
him,  and  upon  all  Judah  and  Jerusalem  for  it,  2  Chron.  xxxii.  25,  seq. 
Pride  sets  itself  against  the  honour,  being,  and  sovereignty  of  God,  and 
therefore  justice  will  in  spite  of  all  sit  above  her.  Other  sins  strike  at 
the  word  of  God,  the  people  of  God,  and  the  creatures  of  God,  but  pride 
strikes  directly  at  the  very  being  of  God,  and  therefore  justice  will  be 
above  her. 

Nebuchadnezzar  was  proud,  and  God  smites  his  reason,  and  turns  him 

into  a  beast.     Oh  !  how  many  young  professors  are  there  in  our  days, 

who  have  been  proud  of  their  notions,  and  proud  of  their  parts  and  gifts, 

and  justice  hath  so  smitten  them,  that  they  have  lost  that  life,  that 

'  Aniiq.,  ix.  10,  sec-  4.— G. 


46  THE  UNSEAECHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

sweetness,  that  spiritualness,  that  quickness  that  once  they  had,  and  are 
dried  and  shrivelled  up  by  a  hand  of  justice.^  They  are  like  the  apples 
of  Sodom,  glorious  without,  but  rotten  and  worthless  within.  Some 
there  are  that  have  been  very  shining,  yet  by  reason  of  pride  have  fallen 
from  a  seeming  excellency  to  be  naught,  and  from  naught  to  be  very 
naught,  and  from  very  naught  to  be  stark  naught.  Isa.  xxiii.  9,  'The 
Lord  of  hosts  hath  purposed  it,  to  stain  the  pride  of  all  glory,  and  to 
bring  into  contempt'  (or  to  make  light)  *  all  the  honourable  of  the  earth.' 
The  Hebrew  word  that  is  here  rendered  purposed,  signifies  to  consult, 
or  take  counsel.^  It  is  consulted  and  agreed  upon  in  counsel,  that 
he  will  stain  the  pride  of  all  glory,  and  bring  into  contempt  the  honour- 
able of  the  earth ;  and  the  counsel  of  the  Lord  shall  stand,  Ps.  xxxiii. 
11 ;  Isa.  ii.  11,  12,  'The  lofty  looks  of  man  shall  be  humbled,  and  the 
haughtiness  of  man  shall  be  bowed  down,  and  the  Lord  alone  shall  be 
exalted  in  that  day.  For  the  day  of  the  Lord  of  hosts  shall  be  upon 
every  one  that  is  proud  and  lofty,  and  upon  every  one  that  is  lifted  up, 
and  he  shall  be  brought  low.' 

Divine  justice  will  take  the  right  hand  of  all  proud  ones  on  the  earth. 
God  bears,  as  I  may  say,  a  special  spleen  against  pride.  His  heart  hates 
it,  Prov.  vi.  16,  17;  his  mouth  curses  it,  Ps.  cxix.  21;  and  his  hand 
plagueth  it,  as  you  have  seen  in  the  former  instances,  and  as  you  may 
see  further  in  these  following  instances  : 

The  king  of  Egypt,  that  Jeremiah  prophesied  against,  in  his  forty- 
fourth  chapter,  was  so  puffed  up  with  pride,  that  he  boasted  his  kingdom 
was  so  surely  settled,  that  it  could  not  be  taken  from  him  either  by  God 
or  man  ;  not  long  after  he  was  taken  in  battle  by  Amasis,  one  of  his  own 
subjects,  and  hanged  up.^ 

Dionysius  the  tyrant  said  in  the  pride  of  his  heart,  that  his  kingdom 
was  bound  to  him  with  chains  of  adamant ;  but  time  soon  confuted 
him,  for  he  was  driven  out,  and  forced  to  teach  a  school  at  Corinth  for 
a  poor  living.  * 

Cares,  a  soldier,  being  proud  of  his  valour,  because  he  had  given  Cyrus 
a  great  wound,  shortly  after  he  ran  mad.  In  all  ages  there  are  notable 
instances  to  prove  that  pride  has  not  got  so  high,  but  justice  has  set 
above  her. 

[6.]  The  sixth  proposition  is  this, 

Of  all  sins  spiritual  pride  is  most  dangerous,  and  must  he  most 
resisted. 

Spiritual  pride  is  the  lifting  up  of  the  mind  against  God ;  it  is  a 
tumor  and  swelling  in  the  mind,  and  lies  in  contemning  and  slighting 
of  God,  his  word,  promises,  and  ordinances,  and  in  the  lifting  up  of  a 
man's  self,  by  reason  of  birth,  breeding,  wealth,  honour,  place,  relation, 
gifts  or  graces,  and  in  despising  of  others.  Of  this  spiritual  pride  Ha- 
bakkuk  speaks,  chap.  ii.  4,  '  His  heart,  that  is  lifted  up  in  him,  is  not 
upright.'     Prov.  xvi.  5,  '  Every  one  that  is  proud  in  heart,  is  an  abomi- 

*  Staupicius  was  proud  of  his  memory,  and  justice  smote  it. 

2  r^t^V,  deliberately  to  consult  and  agree  upon  a  thing. 

3  Pharaoh-hophra  (Jer.  xliv.  30,  as  above),  called  by  Herodotus  Apries,  and  by  him 
designated  '  proud'  (b.  ii.  169,  et  alibi)  ;  but  in  contradiction  of  Amasis  having  '  hung' 
him,  is  the  text  and  Ezek.  xxix.  19,  and  xxxi.  11,  16, 18  ;  whence  Josephus  (Antiq.,  b.  x. 
c.  11),  and  Jerome  (in  Jerem.  Thren.,  c.  4),  make  Nebuchadnezzar  to  have  been  the 
slayer  of  him.— G.  *  Plutarch  :  Dionysius,  7.— G. 


EpH.  hi  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  47 

nation  to  the  Lord;'  or,  that  'lifts  up  his  heart  against  God/  or  his 
decrees ;  as  Lewis  the  Eleventh  did,  in  that  proud  speech  of  his, 
Si  salvabor,  salvabor ;  si  vero  damnabor,  damnabor.  *  If  I  shall 
be  saved,  I  shall  be  saved ;  and  if  T  shall  be  damned,  I  shall  be 
damned;  and  there  is  all  the  care  that  I  shall  take/  Like  to  this,  was 
that  proud  and  wretched  speech  of  one  Rufus,  who  painted  God  on  the 
one  side  of  his  shield,  and  the  devil  on  the  other,  with  this  mad  motto: 
*  If  thou  wilt  not  have  me,  here  is  one  will.'  Spiritual  pride  is  a  white 
devil,  as  one  calls  it,^  a  gilded  poison,  by  which  God  is  robbed  of  his 
honour,  a  man's  own  soul  of  his  comfort  and  peace,  and  others  of  that 
benefit  and  fruit  which  otherwise  they  might  receive  from  us.  Satan 
is  subtle  ;  he  will  make  a  man  proud  of  his  very  graces  ;  he  will  make 
him  proud  that  he  is  not  proud.  Pride  grows  with  the  decrease  of  other 
sins,  and  thri\'es  by  their  decay.  Other  sins  are  nourished  by  poison- 
ous roots,  as  adultery  is  nourished  by  idleness,  and  gluttony  and  mur- 
der by  malice  and  envy ;  but  this  white  devil,  spiritual  pride,  springs 
from  good  duties  and  good  actions  towards  God  and  man.  Spiritual 
pride  is  a  very  great  enemy  to  the  good  and  salvation  of  man.  Pride 
is  like  a  very  great  swelling,  which  unfits  men  for  any  service. 

Again,  spiritual  pride  is  a  very  great  enemy  to  the  good  and  salvation 
of  men.  The  Greek  word  signifies  sivelleth,  for  pride  is  like  a  great 
swelling  in  the  body,  which  unfits  it  for  any  good  service.  John  v.  40, 
'  You  will  not  come  to  me,  that  you  may  have  life ;'  and  ver.  44,  '  How 
can  ye  believe  in  me,  which  seek  honour  one  of  another?'  Christ  blesses 
his  Father,  Mat.  xi.  25,  that  he  had  '  hid  those  things  from  the  wise  and 
prudent,  and  had  revealed  them  unto  babes  and  sucklings."  It  is  the 
pride  of  men's  hearts  that  makes  them  throw  off  ordinances,  as  poor 
and  low  things,  when,  alas !  in  their  practices  they  live  below  the  power, 
beauty,  glory,  and  holiness  of  the  least  and  lowest  ordinance.  There's 
more  holiness,  purity,  and  glory  manifested  in  the  lowest  administra- 
tions of  Christ,  than  is  held  forth  by  them,  m  their  highest  practices. 

[7.]  The  seventh  proposition  is  this. 

Pride  un-mans  a  man  ;  it  makes  him  do  acts  that  are  below  a 
man. 

As  you  may  see  in  Pharaoh,  Haman,  Herod,  Nebuchadnezzar,  &c. 
It  makes  men  bedlams,  to  say  they  know  not  what,  and  to  do  they 
care  not  what.  It  was  pride  that  made  Hildebrand  to  cause  Henry  the 
Fourth  to  stand  three  days  at  his  gate,  with  his  wife  and  his  child, 
barefooted.  It  was  pride  that  made  Adonibezek  cause  three-score  and 
ten  kings,  with  their  thumbs  and  great  toes  cut  off.  Judges  i.  5-7,  to 
gather  their  meat  under  his  table.  Oh  !  what  wretched  unmanly  acts 
hath  the  pride  of  many  persons  put  them  upon. 

[8.]  The  eighth  proposition  is  this. 

The  poorest  are  oftentimes  the  proudest. 

Pretty  is  the  parable  of  Jotham  :  the  best  trees  refused  to  be  king, 
but  the  bramble  affected  it ;  and  did  sperare  et  aspirare,  hope  and 
aspire  it.  Judges  ix.  15.  So  in  2  Kings  xiv.  9,  'The  thistle  that  was 
in  Lebanon  sent  to  the  cedar  that  was  in  Lebanon,  saying.  Give  thy 
daughter  to  my  son  to  wife.'     Hagar  the  kitchen-maid  will  be  proud, 

1  Thomas  Adams,  whose  *  White  Devil'  is  one  of  his  most  remarkable  sermons.  See 
Works,  vol.  ii.  pp.  221,  et  seq.—G. 


48  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

and  insult  over  her  mistress  Sarah,  Gen.  xxi.  The  poor  sons  of  Zebedee 
would  sit  at  Christ's  right  hand  and  left,  Mat.  xx.  20,  21.  And  those 
that  Job  disdains  to  set  with  the  dogs  of  his  flock,  yet  contemn  him 
in  the  day  of  his  sorrow.  Job  xxx.  1.  The  foot  strives  to  be  equal  with 
the  head,  the  servant  as  the  master,  the  cobbler  as  the  councillor,  and 
the  peasant  as  the  prince,  &c. 

[9.]  The  ninth  proposition  is  this, 

Pride  is  a  sure  fore-runner  of  a  fall. 

*  Pride  goes  before  destruction,  and  a  haughty  mind  before  a  fall,' 
Prov.  xvi.  18,  xviii.  12.  Herod  fell  from  a  throne  of  gold  to  a  bed  of 
dust.  Nebuchadnezzar  fell  from  the  state  of  amighty  king,  to  be  a  beast. 
Adam  fell  from  innocency  to  mortality.  The  angels  fell  from  heaven 
to  hell,  from  felicity  to  misery. 

[10.]  The  tenth  and  last  proposition  is  this  : 

Ood  will  by  an  invincible  power  carry  the  day  against  proud  souls. 

You  that  it  escape,^  and  ruffle  it  out,  and  carry  it  with  a  high  hand, 
remember  this,  God  will  by  an  invisible  power  carry  the  day  against 
you  ;  when  you  think  not  of  it,  he  will  eat  you  like  a  moth.  Isa.  xlvii. 
10,  11,  'For  thou  hast  trusted  in  thy  wickedness,  thou  hast  said,  None 
seeth  me.  Thy  wisdom  and  thy  knowledge  hath  perverted  thee.  And 
thou  hast  said  in  thine  heart,  I  am,  and  none  else  besides  me.  There- 
fore shall  evil  come  upon  thee,  thou  shalt  know  not  from  whence  it 
riseth ;  and  mischief  shall  fall  upon  thee,  and  thou  shalt  not  be  able  to 
put  it  off.  And  desolation  shall  come  upon  thee  suddenly,  which  thou 
shalt  not  know.'  Impunity  oftentimes  causeth  impudency,  but  quod 
differtur  non  aufertur,  forbearance  is  no  acquittance.  The  longer  tlie 
hand  is  lifted  up,  the  heavier  will  be  the  blow  at  last.  Of  all  metals, 
lead  is  the  coldest,  but  being  melted,  it  becomes  the  hottest.  Humble 
souls  know  how  to  apply  this,  and  proud  souls  shall  sooner  or  later 
experience  this.^ 

II.  I  shall  now  proceed  to  a  second  observation, 

Namely, 

That  all  saints  are  not  of  an  equal  size  and  growth  in  grace  and 
holiness. 

Some  are  higher,  and  some  a,re  lower  ;  some  are  stronger  and  some 
are  weaker,  in  spiritual  graces  and  heavenly  excellencies.  *  Unto  me 
who  am  less  than  the  least,'  &c. 

Among  true  believers,  some  may  be  found  to  be  but  weak  believers. 
This  point  flows  as  natural  from  the  words  as  the  stream  does  from  the 
fountain,  and  no  point  more  clear  in  all  the  Scripture  than  this. 

In  Rom.  xiv.  1,  you  read  of  some  that  are  weak  in  the  faith ;  '  Them 
that  are  weak  in  the  faith  receive,'  saith  the  apostle.  None  are  to  be 
rejected  in  whom  aliquid  Christi,  anything  of  Christ,  is  to  be  found. 
And  so  Mat.  xiv.  31,  there  is  mention  made  of '  little  faith.'  1  Cor.  ix. 
22,  *  To  the  weak  became  I  as  weak,  that  I  might  gain  the  weak.'  You 
read  of  babes  in  grace  :  1  Pet.  ii.  2,  3,  '  As  new-born  babes,  desire  the 

'  Qu. '  You  that  think  to  escape'? — G. 

'  Pope  Innocent  the  Fourth,  as  he  was  walking  securely  in  his  palace,  heard  that  sor- 
rowful and  dreadful  summons,  Veni  miser  in  judicitim,  come,  thou  wretch,  receive  thy 
judgment ;  and  soon  after  he  was  found  dead.    Eccles.  viii.  11. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  KICHES  OF  CHRIST.  49 

sincere  milk  of  the  word,  that  you  may  grow  thereby,  if  so  be  that  ye 
have  tasted  that  the  Lord  is  gracious.'  1  John  ii.  12-14,  there  is  men- 
tion made  of  '  little  children,  of  young  men,  and  of  fathers.'  All  are 
not  fathers  in  grace,  nor  all  are  not  young  men  in  grace  ;  there  are  some 
children  in  grace.  A  Christian  in  this  life  hath  his  degrees  of  growth  ; 
he  is  first  a  child  in  grace,  and  then  a  young  man  in  grace,  and  then  a 
father  in  grace.^ 

For  the  further  opening  of  this  point,  I  shall  endeavour  these  four 
things. 

I.  I  shall  endeavour  to  decipher  to  you  souls  weak  in  grace. 

II.  I  shall  endeavour  to  lay  down  those  things  that  may  encourage, 
support,  and  comfort  souls  that  are  weak  in  grace. 

III.  I  shall  speak  to  the  duties  that  lie  upon  those  that  are  weak  in 
grace. 

lY.  The  duties  that  lie  upon  those  that  are  strong  in  grace,  towards 
tht)se  that  are  weak  in  grace. 

Of  these  four  we  shall  speak,  as  the  Lord  shall  assist. 

I.  I  shall  begin  with  the  first,  To  decipher  souls  vjeak  in  grace. 

The  first  thing  by  which  I  shall  decipher  souls  weak  in  grace  is  this  : 

[1.]  Weak  Christians  are  usually  carried  much  out  after  the  poor 
lotu  things  of  this  world. 

They  are  much  in  carking  and  caring  for  them,  and  in  pursuing  and 
hunting  greedily  after  them.  That  is  a  clear  text  for  this:  Mat.  vi.  24, 
to  the  end.  Christ  labours  by  several  weighty  arguments  to  fence 
and  fortify  his  disciples  against  those  diffident,  doubtful,  carking  cares, 
that  divide,  distract,  distemper,  torture,  and  tear  the  heart  in  a  thou- 
sand pieces.  And  yet  neither  these  arguments,  nor  yet  the  presence  of 
him  who  was  the  great  landlord  of  heaven  and  earth,  and  whose  love 
and  bowels  were  still  yearning  towards  them,  and  whose  special  eye  of 
providence  was  still  over  them,  could,  rid  their  heads  and  hearts  of 
these  worldly  cares  that  do  but  vex  and  perplex  the  souls  of  men.  And 
it  is  very  observable,  that  after  this  smart  lecture  that  Christ  had  read 
them,  they  did  strive  three  several  times  who  should  be  greatest  and 
highest  in  worldly  enjoyments.  Their  hearts  should  have  been  only 
in  heaven,  and  yet  they  strive  for  earth,  as  if  there  were  no  heaven, 
or  as  if  earth  were  better  than  heaven.  All  which  does  clearly  evi- 
dence, that  their  graces  were  very  weak,  and  their  corruptions  very 
strong.  Men  that  have  little  of  the  upper  springs  within,  are  carried 
out  much  after  the  springs  below.  Baruch  was  good,  but  weak  in 
grace  ;  he  had  but  some  sips  and  tastes  of  the  glory  of  that  other 
world,  and  that  made  him,  when  God  was  a-pulling  down  all  worldly 
glory,  to  seek  for  earth  as  if  there  were  no  heaven,  Jer.  xlv.  1-5. 
Certainly  there  is  but  little  of  Christ  and  grace  within,  where  the 
heart  is,  so  strongly  carried  out  after  these  things  without.  Where 
there  is  such  strong  love  and  workings  of  heart  after  these  poor 
things,  it  speaks  our  soul's  enjoyment  of  God  to  be  but  poor  and 
low. 

'  It  is  with  Christians  as  it  is  with  planets :  the  moon  goes  her  course  in  a  month,  tlie 
sun  in  a  year,  the  rest  not  in  many  years  ;  yet  at  length  they  finish. 
VOL.  III.  D 


50  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

In  the  Old  Testament,  the  Jews,  being  babes  and  infants  in  grace 
and  holiness,  had  a  world  of  temporal  promises,  and  very  few  spiritual 
promises.  But  now  in  the  days  of  the  gospel,  the  Lord  is  pleased 
to  double  aod  treble  his  Spirit  upon  his  people,  and  now  you  meet  with 
very  few  temporal  promises  in  the  gospel,  but  the  gospel  is  filled  with 
spiritual  promises.  The  gospel  drops  nothing  but  marrow  and  fatness, 
love  and  sweetness ;  and  therefore  God  looks  in  these  days  that  men 
should  grow  up  to  a  greater  height  of  holiness,  heaven'liness,  and  spirit- 
ualness,  than  what  they  attained  to  in  those  dark  days,  wherein  the 
sun  shined  but  dimly.  Men  rich  and  strong  in  grace  look  upon  the 
world  with  a  holy  scorn  and  disdain,  as  Themistocles,  when  he  saw^  in 
the  dark  a  thing  like  a  pearl,  he  scorned  to  stoop  for  it  himself,  saying 
to  another,  '  Stoop  thee,  for  tbou  art  not  Themistocles.'^  Abraham,  a 
man  strong  in  grace,  looked  with  a  holy  scorn  and  with  an  eye  of  dis- 
dain upon  these  poor  things.  When  Melchisedec  from  God  had  made 
him  heir  of  all  things,  he  refused  the  riches  that  the  king  of  Sodom 
offered  him,  because  God  w^as  his  shield  and  his  exceeding  great  reward. 
Gen.  xiv.  21,  xv.  1.  The  greatest  bargain  that  a  soul  rich  in  grace 
will  make  with  God  for  himself  is  this,  '  Give  me  but  bread  to  eat  and 
clothes  to  wear,  and  thou  shalt  be  my  God.'  So  it  w^as  with  that  brave 
soul.  Gen.  xxviii.  21,  he  desires  but  food  and  raiment.  Mark,  he  asks 
food,  not  junkets;^  raiment,  not  ornaments.  A  little  will  serve  a  man 
that  is  strong  in  grace,  much  will  not  serve  a  man  that  is  weak  in  grace, 
nothing  will  serve  a  man  that  is  void  of  grace.  Souls  weak  in  grace, 
have  their  hearts  much  working  after  these  poor  low  things ;  as  you 
may  see.  Mat.  xviii.  1,  'Who  shall  be  greatest  in  the  kingdom  of 
heaven  V  The  question  is  stated  by  the  disciples,  that  one  w^ould  have 
thought  should  have  had  their  hearts  and  thoughts  in  heaven  ;  but  they 
dreamed  of  an  earthly  kingdom,  where  honours  and  offices  should  be 
distributed,  as  in  the  days  of  David  and  Solomon.  And  it  is  observable 
in  Mark  ix.  33,  34,  they  are  at  it  again  :  '  And  he  came  to  Capernaum ; 
and  being  in  the  house,  he  asked  them.  What  was  it  that  ye  disputed 
among  yourselves  by  the  way  ?  But  they  held  their  peace'  (they  were 
ashamed  to  tell  him) ;  '  for  by  the  way  they  had  disputed  among  them- 
selves who  should  be  greatest.'  Saith  one,  I'll  have  this,  and  saith  an- 
other, I'll  have  that,  &c. ;  or  as  it  is  in  the  Greek,  '  they  disputed  who 
was  greatest ;'  so  in  Luke  ix.  46.  Says  one,  I  am  greater  than  thou  ; 
No,  says  another,  I  am  greatest :  rig  [xzi^m,  who  was  greatest.  It  is  an 
argument  of  a  childish  disposition  to  be  taken  more  wdth  rattles  and 
baubles  than  with  jewels  and  pearls.  That  Christian  hath  little  of  the 
power  of  grace  within  him,  whose  heart  is  so  strongly  carried  out  to  these 
vanities  below.  Men  that  are  grown  up  to  years  of  understanding  prefer 
one  piece  of  gold  above  a  thousand  new  counters,  A  soul  that  is  strong 
in  grace,  that  is  high  in  its  spiritual  enjoyments,  prefers  one  good  word 
from  God,  one  good  look  from  Christ,  above  all  the  glory  of  this  world. 
*  Lord,'  saith  he,  '  lift  thou  up  the  light  of  thy  countenance  upon  me,' 
Warm  my  heart  with  the  beams  of  thy  love,  and  then  a  little  of  these 
things  will  suffice.  You  see  Moses  and  all  those  worthies  in  the  11th 
of  the  Hebrews,  who  were  men  strong  in  grace,  how  bravely  they  trample 
upon  all  things  below  God.  They  left  their  families  and  their  countries, 
J  Plutarch,  as  before. — G.  *  <  Dainties.' — G. 


EpH.  Ill  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  5\ 

where  they  lived  like  princes,  to  wander  in  a  wilderness,  upon  the  bare 
command  of  God.^  So  Luther,  a  man  strong  in  grace,  when  he  had  a 
gown  and  money  given  him  by  the  elector,  he  turned  himself  about, 
and  said,  *  I  protest  God  shall  not  put  me  off  with  these  poor  low  things.' 
Souls  that  know  by  experience  what  the  bosom  of  Christ  is,  what  spiri- 
tual communion  is,  what  the  glory  of  heaven  is,  will  not  be  put  off  by 
God  nor  man  with  things  that  are  mixed,  mutable,  and  momentary. 
And  to  shame  many  professors  in  these  days,  I  might  bring  in  a  cloud  of 
witnesses ;  even  from  among  the  very  heathen,  who  never  heard  of  a 
crucified  Christ,  and  yet  were  more  crucified  to  things  below  Christ  than 
many  of  them  that  pretend  much  to  Christ.  But  I  shall  forbear,  only 
desiring  that  those  that  think  and  speak  so  scornfully  and  contemp- 
tuously of  heathens  may  not  at  last  be  found  worse  than  heathens ;  yea, 
be  judged  and  condemned  by  heathens  in  the  great  and  terrible  day  of 
the  Lord. 

Secondly,  In  order  to  a  further  deciphering  of  weak  Christians,  I  shall 
lay  down  this  : 

[2.]  That  weak  saints  do  usually  overfear  troubles  before  they  come; 
yea^  those  future  evils  that,  forty  to  one,  may  never  fall  out. 

The  very  empty  thoughts  and  conceit  of  trouble  is  very  terrible  and 
perplexing  to  a  weak  saint.  When  it  was  told  the  house  of  David,  say- 
ing, '  Syria  is  confederate  with  Ephraim,'  his  heart  was  moved,  and  the 
heart  of  his  people,  as  the  trees  of  the  wood  are  moved  with  the  wind,  Isa. 
vii.  2.  Their  heart  quaked  and  quivered,  as  we  say,  like  an  aspen  leaf. 
It  is  an  elegant  expression,  shewing,  in  their  extremity,  the  baseness  of 
their  fears,  arguing  no  courage  or  spirit  at  all  in  them.  The  very  news 
and  conceit  of  trouble  or  calamities,  oh  how  doth  it  perplex,  and  vex, 
and  grieve,  and  overwhelm  weak  Christians  !^  The  very  hearing  of 
trouble  at  a  distance  makes  them  to  stagger  and  reel,  and  ready  to  say, 
'  Will  God  now  save  ?  Will  he  now  deliver  V  It  puts  them  into  those 
shaking  fits,  that  they  know  not  what  to  do  with  themselves,  nor  how 
to  perform  the  service  they  owe  to  God  or  man.  Now  tell  me,,  can  you 
call  that  a  stout  spirit,  a  strong  spirit,  that  is  daunted  with  the  very 
report  and  thoughts  of  calamity  \  Or  that  does  torment  men  with  im- 
moderate fear  of  a  thousand  things  that  happily  shall  never  fall  out;  as 
fears  of  foreign  invasions,  or  fears  of  home-bred  confusions,  fears  of  change 
of  religion,  or  being  surprised  with  such  or  such  diseases,  or  being  ruined 
in  their  outward  estate  by  such  and  such  devices  or  disadvantages,  or 
by  falling  under  the  frowns  of  such  a  great  man,  or  under  the  anger 
and  revenge  of  such  and  such  a  man,  and  a  thousand  such  like  things. 
Now,  this  speaks  out  much  weakness  in  grace.  Souls  strong  in  grace 
are  carried  above  these  fears;  yea,  with  the  leviathan  in  Job,  they  can 
laugh  at  the  shaking  of  a  spear,  chap.  xli.  29.     They  can  say  with  David, 

*  The  philosopher  preferred  the  king's  countenance  before  his  coin.  [Said  of  Socrates 
in  Plato,  as  before.— G.] 

2  The  chameleon,  saith  Pliny,  is  the  most  fearful  of  all  creatures,  and  doth  therefore 

turn  into  all  colours  to  save  itself ;  and  so  it  is  often  with  weak  Christians Pray 

for  me,  said  Latimer  in  his  letter  to  Ridley  ;  for  I  am  sometimes  so  fearful,  that  I  would 
creep  into  o.  mo\\sft-\\o\e.—[^I<oxe]  Acts  et  Mon.  15C5.  [Rather,  'A  Conference  had  be- 
twixt Master  Ridley  and  Master  Latimer  in  Prison,'  &c.  Foxe,  by  Townsend,  vii.  423. 
The  words  are  touchingly  humble  :  '  Pardon  me,  and  pray  for  me  ;  pray  for  me,  I  say  ; 
pray  for  me,  I  say.  For  I  am  sometimes  so  fearful,  that  I  would  creep,  into  a  mouse - 
hole.'— G. 


52  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

'  Though  we  walk  through  the  valley  of  the  shadow  of  death,  we  will 
fear  no  evil ;  for  thou  art  wdth  us,  thy  rod  and  thy  staff  do  comfort  us,' 
Ps.  xxiii.  4.  But  weak  souls  are  afraid  of  their  own  shadow.  The  very 
shadow  of  trouble  will  exceedingly  trouble  such  souls,  and  oftentimes 
make  their  lives  a  very  hell.^ 

[3.]  Thirdly,  Faintin-g  in  the  day  of  adversity  epeaks  of  a  soul  to 
be  but  weak  in  grace. 

Weak  Christians  are  overcome  with  little  crosses.  The  least  cross 
doth  not  only  startle  them,  but  it  sinks  them,  and  makes  them  ready 
to  sit  down  and  to  cry  out  with  the  church,  '  Behold  you  that  pass  by, 
see  whether  there  be  any  sorrow  like  my  sorrow,^  Lam.  i.  1±  Before 
trouble  comes,  weak  Christians  are  apt  to  think  that  they  can  bear  much 
and  endure  much  ;  but,  alas !  when  the  day  of  trial  comes  upon  them, 
when  they  are  put  to  it,  they  prove  but  men  of  poor  and  impotent  spirits, 
and  then  they  roar,  and  complain,  and  lie  down  in  the  dust,  suffering 
crosses  and  losses  to  bind  them  hand  and  foot,  and  to  spoil  them  of  all 
their  comforts.  And  now  though  they  have  many  comforts  for  one 
cross,  yet  one  cross  doth  so  damp  and  daunt  their  hearts,  that  joy  and 
comfort  flies  away  from  them,  and  they  sit  down  overwhelmed.  Cer- 
tainly this  speaks  out  little  of  Christ  within.  All  Rachel's  comforts 
were  no  comforts,  because  her  children  were  not.  This  speaks  out  much 
weakness  within. 

Prov.  xxiv.  10,  'If  thou  faintest  in  the  day  of  adversity,  thy  strength 
is  small ;'  if  thou  shrinkest,  if  thou  abatest  and  slackest,  in  the  day  of 
adversity,  thy  strength  is  small.  Man  hath  no  trial  of  his  strength  till 
he  be  in  trouble ;  faintness  then  discovers  weakness.  Afflictions  try 
what  sap  we  have,  as  hard  weather  tries  what  health  we  have.  A  weak 
Christian  sinks  under  a  little  burden ;  every  frown,  every  sour  word,  every 
puff  of  wind  blows  him  down,  and  makes  him  sink  under  his  burden. 
But  now  a  soul  strong  in  grace  bears  up  bravely  against  all  winds  and 
weather.  That  is  a  brave  text,  and  worthy  to  l3e  written  in  letters  of 
gold,  that  you  have  in  Gen.  xlix.  23,  24,  '  Joseph's  bow  abode  in  strength, 
though  the  archers  sorely  grieved  him,  shot  at  him,  and  hated  him.  And 
the  arms  of  his  hands  were  made  strong,  by  the  mighty  God  of  Jacob.' 
The  archers  that  sorely  grieved  him  were  his  barbarous  brethren  that 
sold  him ;  his -adulterous  mistress  that,  harlot-like,  hunted  for  his  precious 
life ;  his  injurious  master,  that  without  any  desert  of  his,  imprisoned  him ; 
the  tumultuating  Egyptians,  that  were  pined  with  hunger,  perhaps  spake 
of  stoning  him ;  and -the  envious  courtiers  and  enchanters  spake  evilly  of 
him  before  Pharaoh,  to  bring  him  out  of  favour.  All  these  ^hot  sorely  at 
him.  The  word  that  is  rendered  archers  in  the  Hebrew,  vy^^  is  arrow- 
masters,  which  term  implieth  cunning  and  skilfulness  in  shooting.  They 
were  cunning  and  skilful  to  hit  the  mark,  and  they  shot  at  him,  as  at  a 
mark  ;  but  yet  '  his  bow  abode  in  strength.'  When  God  in  the  midst  of 
weakness  makes  a  soul  strong,  that  soul  will  not  only  face  enemies  and 
difficulties,  but  triumpih  over  them.  Those  that  are  strong  in  grace  seldom 
want  courage  or  -counsel  when  they  are  at  the  worst.  They  always  find 
their  hope  to  be  an  anchor  at  sea,  and  their  faith  a  shield  upon  land  ; 
and  therefore  they  triumph  in  all  storms  and  dangers.     They  stand  firm 

1  Bucephalus  was  not  afraid  of  Ins  burden;  the  shadow  only  frighted  him.  So  weak 
Christians  are  afraid  of  the  shadow  of  the  cross. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST,  53 

when  they  are  under  the  greatest  pressures  i  2  Cor.  xi.  23^  '  In  labours 
more  abundant,  in  stripes  above  measure,  in  prisons  more  frequent,  in 
deaths  often,'  &c.  And  yet  he  triumphs  in  2  Cor.  i.  12,  'Our  rejoicing 
is  this,  the  testimony  of  our  conscience,  that  in  singleness  and  godly 
sincerity,  not  with  fleshly  wisdom,  but  by  the  grace  of  God,  we  have  had 
our  conversation  in  the  world,  and  more  abundantly  ta  you-wards.' 
Strong  Paul  rejoiced  in  his  sufferings  for  Christ,  and  therefore  often 
sings  it  out :  '  I,  Paul,  a  prisoner  of  Jesus  Christ ;'  not  '  I  Paul,  rapt 
up  in  the  third  heaven.'^ "  He  preferred  his  crown  of  thorns  before  a 
crown  of  gold,  his  prison  rags  above  all  royal  robes.^ 

[4.]  Fourthly,  A  tueak  Christian  thinks  that  little  to  be  much  that 
he  suffers  for  Christ. 

In  Mat.  xix.  27,  then  '  answered  Peter,  and  said  unto  him,  Behold, 
we  have  forsaken  all,  and  followed  thee  ;  what  shall  we  have  V  Their 
worldly  case  in  following  Christ,  was  little  worse  than  when  they  only 
traded  in  fishing ;  and  yet,  '  we  have  forsaken  all,  and  followed  thee ; 
what  shall  we  have  ? '  This  their  all  was  not  worth  a  speaking  of,  and 
yet,  for  this  they  look  for  some  great  worldly  reward  and  recompence. 
'  We  have  forsaken  all.'  A  great  all  sure  !  a  few  broken  boats,  and  a 
few  tattered  and  torn  nets,  and  a  little  old  household  stuff,  and  Christ 
maintained  them  too,  upon  his  own  cost  and  charge  ;.  and  yet  say  they, 
'  We  have  forsaken  all,  and  followed  thee.'  Neither  is  it  without  an 
emphasis,  that  they  begin  with  a  Behold  ;.  '  Behold  we  have  forsaken  all,' 
as  if  Christ  were  greatly  beholding  to  them.  Let  their  wills  be  but 
crossed  a  little,  by  servants,  children,  fil^nds,  &c,  or  let  them  but  suffer 
a  little  in  their  names  or  estates,  &c.,  and  presently  you  shall  have  them 
a-sighing  it  out, '  No  sorrow  like  our  sorrow,'  no  loss  to  our  loss,  no  cross 
to  our  cross,  &c.^  Whereas  souls  strong  in  grace  suffer  much,  and  yet 
count  that  much  but  little.  A  soul  strong  in  grace  can  suffer  much, 
and  yet  make  nothing  of  it.  I  am  heartily  angry,  saith  Luther,  who 
suffered  very  much,  with  those  that  speak  of  my  sufferings,  which  if  com- 
pared with  that  which  Christ  suffered  for  me,  are  not  once  to  be  men- 
tioned in  the  same  day,  &c.^ 

[5.]  Fifthly,  Those  that  are  weak  in  grace  dwell  more  itpon  what 
tnay  discourage  ther)%  in  the  ways  of  grace  and  holiness,  than  they  do 
upon  what  may  encourage  them. 

They  dwell  more  upon  their  sins  than  upon  a  Saviour ;  more  upon 
their  misery,  than  upon  free  grace  and  mercy  ;.  more  upon  that  which 
may  feed  their  fears,  than  upon  that  that  may  strengthen  their  faith  ; 
more  upon  the  cross,  than  upon  the  crown  ;  more  upon  those  that  are 
against  them,  than  those  that  are  for  them  :  Isa.  li.  12,  13,  *  I,  even  I, 
am  he  that  comforteth  you  :  who  art  thou,  that  thou  shouldest  be  afraid 
of  a  man  that  shall  die,  and  of  the  son  of  man  which  shall  be  made  as 
grass ;  and  forgettest  the  Lord  thy  maker,  that  hath  stretched  forth  the 
heavens,  and  laid  the  foundations  of  the  earth  ;  and  hast  feared  con- 
tinually every  day,  because  of  the  fury  of  the  oppressor,  as  if  he  were 
ready  to  destroy  ?  and  where  is  the  fury  of  the  oppressor  V  ^  The  same 
is  intimated  Bom.  iv.  19,  20,  'Abraham,  being  not  weak  in  faith,  he 

1  If  we  perish,  Christ  perisheth  with  us,  said  Luther.    ['  Table  Talk,'  as  before.— G-l 

2  Weak  Christians  are  like  children  ;  they  look  for  a  great  reward  for  a  little  work. 
^  '  Table  Talk,'  as  before. -G. 


54  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

considered  not  his  own  body  being  dead,  nor  yet  the  deadness  of  Sarah's 
womb.'  Mark,  '  being  not  weak  in  faith/  Souls  weak  in  faith  are  very 
apt  to  dwell  upon  discouragements,  but  strong  Christians  look  above 
all  discouragements. 

*  He  considered  not.'  The  Greek  is  ov  Tcarsvorjfrs  he  cared  not  for  his 
own  body,  he  did  not  mind  that ;  but  in  the  20th  verse,  *  he  considered 
him  that  had  promised.'  Souls  strong  in  grace  dwell  more  upon  their 
encouragements  to  holiness  and  believing,  than  upon  their  discourage- 
ments. '  He  considered  him  that  had  promised.'  He  had  an  eye  fixed 
upon  the  faithfulness  of  God,  and  the  sufficiency  and  almightiness  of 
God,  and  this  bore  up  his  heart  above  all  discouragements.  So  in  2 
Cor.  iv.  16-18,  '  Our  light  affliction,  which  is  but  for  a  moment,  worketh 
for  us  a  far  more  exceeding,  and  eternal  weight  of  glory  ;  while  we  look 
not  (mark,  they  are  not  doatingupon  their  discouragements)  upon  things 
that  are  seen,  but  upon  things  that  are  not  seen  :  the  things  which  are 
seen  are  temporal,  but  the  things  that  are  not  seen  are  eternal.'  An  eye 
fixed  upon  encouragements  makes  heavy  afflictions  light,  long  afflictions 
short,  and  bitter  afflictions  sweet.  Those  blessed  martyrs  found  it  so, 
that  were  cast  out  all  night,  in  a  cold  frosty  night,  naked,  and  were  to 
be  burnt  the  nextday,  who  thus  comforted  themselves,  The  winteris  sharp, 
but  paradise  is  sweet ;  here  we  shiver  for  cold,  but  the  bosom  of  Abra- 
ham will  make  amends  for  all.  Weak  Christians  have  eyes  to  behold 
their  discouragements,  but  none  to  see  their  encouragements  ;  they  look 
niore  upon  their  corruption  than  upon  their  sanctification  ;  upon  their 
disobedience  than  their  obedience  ;  upon  their  distrust  than  upon  their 
faith  ;  upon  the  old  man  than  upon  the  new  ;  and  this  keeps  them  low 
and  weak  in  spirituals,  it  causes  a  leanness  in  their  souls. 

[6.]  Sixthly,  The  zeal  of  weak  Christians  usually  outstrips  their 
wisdom  and  knovjledge. 

Weak  Christians  are  very  zealous,  but  not  according  to  knowledge  : 
Rom.  x.  2,  *  For  I  bear  them  record,  that  they  have  a  zeal  of  God,  but  not 
according  to  knowledge.'  They  were  very  zealous,  but  not  true  zealots, 
they  are  very  peevish  and  pettish  and  censorious  ;  but  they  want  wis- 
dom and  knowledge  to  manage  their  zeal,  to  God's  glory  and  their 
brethren's  good.  Such  zeal  had  those  two  rabbins  that  set  upon 
Charles  the  Fifth,  to  persuade  him  to  turn  Jew,  as  judging  their 
religion  to  be  the  only  religion  in  the  world,  and  for  which  they  were 
put  to  a  cruel  death,  in  the  year  1530.'  A  great  zeal  they  had  to  the 
winning  over  of  him  to  Judaism,  but  this  zeal  was  their  ruin.  Zeal 
without  knowledge  is  as  wild-fire  in  a  fool's  hand  ;  it  is  like  the  devil 
in  the  demoniac,  that  sometimes  cast  him  into  the  fire,  and  sometimes 
into  the  water.  So  the  disciples  of  Christ  were  weak  in  their  light, 
and  furious  in  their  zeal :  Luke  ix.  54,  '  Let  fire  come  down  from  heaven, 
and  consume  them,'  say  they.  But  mark  what  Christ  saith,  ver.  55  : 
"  Ye  know  not  what  manner  of  spirits  ye  are  of;'  that  is,  ye  know  not 
what  spirit  acts  you.  You  think  that  you  are  acted  by  such  a  spirit  as 
Elijah  of  old  was  acted  by,  but  you  err,  saith  Christ ;  '  you  have  a  zeal, 
but  not  according  to  knowledge,'  therefore  it  is  a  human  affection  and 
not  a  divine  motion.  Zeal  is  like  fire  :  in  the  chimney  it  is  one  of  the 
best  servants,  but  out  of  the  chimney  it  is  one  of  the  worst  masters. 
'  David  Rubenita,  and  Shilomeh  Molcha.    Alsted.  Chr.  426. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  55 

Zeal  kept  by  knowledge  and  wisdom,  in  its  proper  place,  is  a  choice 
servant  to  Christ  and  saints ;  but  zeal  not  bounded  by  wisdom  and 
knowledge,  is  the  high  way  to  undo  all,  and  to  make  a  bell  for  many  at 
once/ 

Weak  Christians  are  usually  most  zealous  about  circumstances  and 
things  that  have  least  of  God  and  Christ  and  the  power  of  holiness  in 
them  ;  and  most  cold  about  substances,  as  woful  experience  doth  evi- 
dence in  these  days.  Zeal  ordered  by  wisdom,  feeds  upon  the  faults  of 
offenders,  not  on  their  persons.  It  spends  itself  and  its  greatest  heat 
principally  upon  those  things  that  concern  a  man's  self  It  is  most  ex- 
ercised about  substantials  :  Tit.  ii.  14,  but  that  which  is  rash,  is  most 
exercised  about  circumstantials  ;  Gal.  i.  14,  Paul  was,  in  the  days  of  his 
ignorance,  very  zealous  for  the  traditions  of  his  fathers,  &c. 

[7.]  Seventhly,  Among  all  saints,  the  weakest  saints  act  most  like 
carnal  sinners. 

No  saint  so  like  a  sinner  as  a  weak  saint :  1  Cor.  iii.  1-5,  'And  I, 
brethren,  could  not  speak  unto  you  as  unto  spiritual,  but  as  unto  carnal, 
even  as  unto  babes  in  Christ.  I  have  fed  you  with  milk,  and  not  with 
meat :  for  hitherto  ye  were  not  able  to  bear  it,  neither  yet  now  are  ye 
able.  For  are  ye  not  yet  carnal :  for  whereas  there  is  among  you  envy- 
ing, and  strife,  and  divisions,  are  ye  not  carnal,  and  walk  as  men  ?  For 
while  one  saith,  I  am  of  Paul,  aud  another  I  am  of  Apollos  ;  are  ye  not 
carnal  V  They  were  advanced  but  very  little  above  the  imperfections 
and  passions  and  sins  of  mere  men,  of  such  which  had  nothing  of  the 
Spirit  in  them,  &c.  Do  wicked  men  quarrel  with  their  teachers,  as 
shallow  trivial  teachers,  when  themselves  are  in  fault,  as  being  not  cap- 
able of  more  mysterious  matter  ?  So  did  these  babes  here.  Do  wicked 
men  impute  their  not  profiting  to  the  minister,  as  he  that,  having  a 
thorn  in  his  foot,  complains  of  the  roughness  of  the  way  as  the  cause  of 
his  limping,  whenas  it  was  the  thorn  and  not  the  roughness  of  the  way 
that  hurt  him.  Or  as  she,  that,  being  struck  with  a  sudden  blindness, 
bid  open  the  window,  whenas  it  was  not  the  want  of  light,  but  want 
of  sight,  that  troubled  her.  So  did  these  babes  in  the  text  lay  the 
fault  of  their  non-proficiency  upon  their  teachers,  when  the  fault  was 
wholly  in  themselves.^ 

Now  he  calls  them  carnal,  partly  because  the  flesh  was  strong  in 
them,  and  partly  because  they  followed  and  relished  the  things  of  the 
flesh,  and  partly  because  they  did  in  their  actions  resemble  carnal  men. 
Do  carnal  and  wicked  men  cry  up  one  good  man,  and  cry  down  another  ? 
Do  they  lift  up  one,  and  abase  another  ?  So  did  they.  Are  wicked 
men  full  of  envy,  strife,  and  divisions  ?  So  were  they.  And  these  over- 
flowings of  the  gall  and  spleen,  come  from  a  fulness  of  bad  humours,  from 
that  abundance  of  carnality  tliat  was  in  them.  But  now  souls  strong 
in  grace  are  higher  than  carnal  men,  as  Saul  was  higher  than  the  people 
by  head  and  shoulders.  Souls  strong  in  grace  have  their  feet  where 
carnal  men's  heads  are  :  Prov.  xv.  24,  '  The  way  of  life  is  above  to  the 

1  Joseplius,  in  the  lltli  and  12th  chapters  of  his  hook,  tells  you  of  some  that  imposed 
the  name  of  Zelote  upon  themselves,  as  if  they  were  zealous  for  the  honour  and  service 
of  God,  and  under  this  pretence  committed  all  riots  and  imaj^inable  wickedness.  It  were 
well  if  we  had  no  such  monsters  among  us  in  these  days.  [Zealots  ;  Anticj.,  b.iv.  10,  teq, 
et  alibi.— G.'] 

■  In  many  things,  weak  Christians  are  carnal  men's  apes. 


56  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

wise,  that  he  may  depart  from  hell  beneath.'  Souls  that  are  strong  in 
grace,  do  act  rather  like  angels  than  like  carnal  men  ;  they  do  as  much 
resemble  the  Father  of  spirits,  as  carnal  men  do  the  Father  of  lies. 

[8.]  Eighthly,  Souls  weak  in  grace  are  easily  drawn  aside  out  of 
the  ways  of  holiness. 

You  know  a  man  that  hath  but  a  little  bodily  strength,  is  easily 
thrust  out  of  the  way ;  so  it  is  with  souls  weak  in  grace :  1  John  iii.  7, 
'  Little  children,  let  no  man  deceive  you ;  he  that  doth  righteousness 
is  righteous,  even  as  he  is  righteous/  Saith  the  apostle,  'Little  children, 
let  no  man  deceive  you.'  Many  in  these  days,  under  pretences  of  high 
and  glorious  enjoyments  of  God,  neglect  and  despise  righteousness  and 
holiness,  crying  up  visions  and  manifestations,  when  their  visions  are 
only  the  visions  of  their  own  hearts  and  their  manifestations  are  plain 
delusi(ms.  Ah  !  but  says  the  apostle,  '  Little  children,  let  none  of  these 
deceive  you.'  I  tell  you  he,  and  only  he,  that  doth  righteousness,  is 
righteous,  as  God  is  righteous.  Children,  you  know,  may  be  easily 
cozened,  and  made  to  take  counters  for  gold,  because  they  are  broader 
and  brighter.  Children  in  grace  are  soon  deceived,  hence  is  it  that 
they  are  so  cozened.  'Little  children,  keep  yourselves  from  idols,' 
1  John  V,  21.^  So  in  Heb.  xii.  12,  13,  'Wherefore  lift  up  the  hands 
which  hang  down,  and  the  feeble  knees.'  Some  think  that  the  apostle 
aUudes  to  those  combats  of  the  heathens,  wherein  it  was  a  token  of 
yielding,  when  a  man  hung  down  his  hands.  You  are  weak,  saith  the 
apostle,  and  by  reason  of  trials  you  are  apt  to  hang  down  your  hands, 
and  to  give  up  all  as  lost;  therefore,  says  he,  lift  up  your  hands  to  fight, 
and  your  feet  to  run,  take  heart  and  courage,  faint  not,  give  not  over, 
turn  not  aside  because  of  the  sharpness  of  afflictions.  But  souls  strong 
in  grace  will  hold  on  in  the  ways  of  grace  and  holiness,  in  the  face  of 
all  dangers  and  deaths,  Ps.  xliv. 

[9.]  Ninthly,  Weak  Christians  are  apt  to  Tnake  sense  and  feeling 
the  judge  of  their  spiritual  estates  and  conditions. 

And,  therefore,  upon  every  turn  they  are  apt  to  judge  themselves 
miserable,  and  to  conclude  that  they  have  no  grace,  because  they  can- 
not feel  it,  nor  discern  it,  nor  believe  it;  and  so  making  sense,  feeling, 
and  reason,  the  judge  of  their  estates,  they  wrong,  and  perplex,  and  vex 
their  precious  souls,  and  make  their  lives  a  very  hell:  as  if  it  were  not 
one  thing  to  be  the  Lord's,  and  another  thing  for  a  man  to  know  that 
he  is  the  Lord's  ;  as  if  it  were  not  one  thing  for  a  man  to  have  grace, 
and  another  thing  to  know  that  he  hath  grace. 

The  Canaanite  woman  had  strong  faith,  but  no  assurance  that  we 
read  of.  Mat.  xv.  22,  seq.  Gal.  iv.  6,  '  And  because  ye  are  sons,  God 
hath  sent  forth  the  Spirit  of  his  Son  into  your  hearts,  crying,  Abba, 
Father.'  Mark,  they  are  first  the  sons  of  God,  and  then  the  Spirit 
cries,  Abba,  Father.  1  John  v.  13,  'These  things  have  I  written  unto 
you  that  believe  on  the  name  of  the  Son  of  God,  that  ye  may  know  that 
ye  have  eternal  life.'  Mark,  they  did  beUeve,  and  they  had  eternal  life, 
in  respect  of  Christ  their  head,  who,  as  a  public  person,  was  gone  to 
heaven,  to  represent  all  his  saints.     And  they  had  eternal  life  in  respect 

*  The  idols  that  are  here  mentioned  are  surely  those  that  the  Gnostics  used  to  wor- 
ship, viz.,  the  images  and  pictures  of  Simon  Magus  and  Helena,  as  might  be  made 
evident  out  of  Eusebius. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  57 

of  the  promises,  and  they  had  eternal  life  in  respect  of  the  beginnings 
of  it ;  and  yet  they  did  not  know  it,  they  did  not  believe  it.  There- 
fore '  these  things  write  I  unto  you  that  believe  on  the  name  of  the  Son 
of  God,'  saith  he,  '  that  ye  may  know  that  ye  have  eternal  life,  and 
that  this  life  is  in  his  Son.'  Ponder  on  Mieah  vii.  7-9.  Much  of  this 
you  may  read  in  my  treatise  called  Heaven  on  Earth,  or  a  well- 
grounded  Assurance  of  Mens  everlasting  Ha^ypiness  and  Blessedness 
in  this  World,  and  to  that  I  refer  you.^ 

The  word  shall  judge  us  at  last,  John  xii.  48  ;  and  therefore  strong 
saints  make  only  the  word  of  God  the  judge  of  their  spiritual  condition 
now,  as  Constantino  made  it  the  judge  and  decider  of  all  opinions. 

[10.]  Tenthly,  Their  thoughts  and  hearts  are  more  taken  with  the 
love-tokens,  and  the  good  things  they  have  by  Christ,  than  with  the 
person  of  Christ. 

Oh  their  graces,  their  comforts,  their  enlargements,  their  meltings, 
and  their  warmings,  &c.,  are  the  things  that  most  take  them.  Their 
thoughts  and  hearts  are  so  exercised  and  carried  out  about  these,  that 
the  person  of  Christ  is  much  neglected  by  them.  The  child  is  so  taken 
with  babies^  and  rattles,  &c.,  that  the  mother  is  not  minded.  And 
such  is  the  carriage  of  weak  Christians  towards  Christ.  But  now  souls 
strong  in  grace  are  more  taken  with  the  person  of  Christ  than  they 
are  with  the  love-tokens  of  Christ.  They  bless  Christ  indeed  for  every 
dram  of  gTace,  and  for  every  good  word  from  heaven,  and  for  every 
good  look  from  heaven;  ay,  but  yet  the  person  of  Christ,  that  is  more  to 
them  than  all  these.^  This  is  remarkable  in  the  church.  Cant.  v.  9,  1 0, 
'  What  is  thy  beloved  more  than  another  beloved,  O  thou  fairest  among 
women  ?  &c.  My  beloved  is  white  and  ruddy,  the  chiefest  among  ten 
thousand,'  &c.  She  doth  not  say,  My  beloved  is  one  that  I  have  got 
so  many  thousands  by,  and  heaven  by,  and  pardon  of  sin  by,  and  peace 
of  conscience  by.  Oh  no  !  but  he  is  white  and  ruddy.  Her  soul  was 
taken  most  with  the  person  of  Christ.  Not  but  that  every  one  is  to 
mind  the  graces  of  Christ,  and  to  be  thankful  for  them  ;  ay,  but  it  is  an 
argument  of  weakness  of  grace,  when  the  heart  is  more  exercised  about 
the  bracelets,  and  the  kisses,  and  the  love-tokens  of  Christ,  than  it  is 
about  the  person  of  Christ.*  But  now  saith.  one  strong  in  grace.  My 
bracelets  are  precious,  but  Christ  is  more  precious  ;  the  streams  of  grace 
are  sweet,  but  the  fountain  of  grace  is  most  sweet ;  the  beams  of  the 
sun  are  glorious,  but  the  sun  itself  is  most  glorious.  A  naked  Christ, 
a  despised  Christ,  a  persecuted  Christ,  is  more  valued  by  a  strong 
Christian,  than  heaven  and  earth  is  by  a  weak  Christian.^ 

[11.]  Eleventhly,  Souls  weak  in  grace  are  easily  stopped  and  taken 
off  from  acting  graciously  and  holily,  when  discouragements  face 
thera. 

This  you  may  see  in  that  remarkable  instance  concerning  Peter,  in 
that  26th  of  Matthew,  from  the  69th  to  the  end.  A  silly  wench  out- 
faces him;  she  daunts  and  dis- spirits  this  self-confident  champion ;  she 
easily  stops  and  turns  him  by  saying,  *  Thou  wast  with  Jesus  of  Galilee,' 

1  See  Vol.  II.  p.  301,  seq.—Q.  2  <  Dolls.'— G. 

'  Christ  is  the  most  sparkling  diamond  in  the  ring  of  glory,  &c. 

*  That  wife  is  hut  weak  in  her  love  that  is  more  taken  with  her  husband's  presents 
than  with  his  person. 

*  Christ's  person,  to  a  strong  Christian,  is  the  greatest  cordial  in  all  the  world. 


58  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EpH.  III.  8. 

V.  70.  'But  he  denied  it  before  them  all,  saying,  I  know  not  what  thou 
sayest.'  He  makes  as  if  he  did  neither  understand  her  words  or  her 
meaning;  and  this  false  dissembling  was  a  true  denying  of  Christ.  Now 
Mark  saith,  chap.  xiv.  68,  that  upon  the  very  first  denial  of  Christ,  the 
cock  crew,  and  yet  this  fair  warning  could  not  secure  him,  but  when 
another  maid  saw  him,  and  said,  'This  fellow  was  with  Jesus  of 
Nazareth,'  ver.  72,  he  denied  it  with  an  oath,  saying,  '  I  do  not  know 
the  man.'i  This  was  fearful  and  dreadful,  and  the  worse  because  his 
Master,  whom  he  forsware,  was  now  upon  his  trial,  and  might  say  with 
wounded  Caesar,  x-ai  od  tskvov,  What!  and  thou  my  son  Brutus!'^  Is 
this  thy  kindness  to  thy  friend,  to  him  that  has  loved  thee,  and  saved 
tbee,  and  owned  thee  ?  &c.  Then  ver.  73,  '  Surely  thou  art  one  of  them, 
for  thy  speech  betrayeth  thee.'  And  ver.  74.  '  He  began  to  curse  and 
to  swear,  I  know  not  the  man. 

The  Greek  word  that  is  rendered  curse,  imports  a  cursing  and  a 
damning  of  himself,  an  imprecation  of  God's  wrath,  and  a  separation 
from  the  presence  and  glory  of  God,  if  he  knew  the  man.^  Some 
writers  say,  that  he  cursed  Christ.  '  I  know  not  the  man,'  saith  he. 
Though  it  were  ten  tliousand  times  better  to  bear  than  to  swear,  and 
to  die  than  to  lie,  yet  when  discouragement  faces  him,  he  is  so  amazed 
and  daunted,  that  he  tells  the  most  incredible  lie  that  almost  could  be 
uttered  by  the  mouth  of  man.  For  there  was  scarce  any  Jew,  saith 
Grotius,  that  knew  not  Christ  l:)y  sight,  being  famous  for  those  abund- 
ance of  miracles  that  he  wrought  before  their  eyes.  Neither  could 
Peter  allege  any  cause  why  he  came  thither,  if  he  had  not  known 
Christ.  But,  ver.  75,  *  He  went  out,  and  wept  bitterly.'  One  sweet  look 
of  love  breaks  his  heart  in  pieces,  he  melts  under  the  beamings  forth  of 
divine  favour  upon  him.  Once  he  leapt  into  a  sea  of  waters  to  come 
to  Christ,  and  now  he  leaps  into  a  sea  of  tears  for  that  he  had  so  shame- 
fully denied  Christ.  Clement  notes,  that  Peter  so  repented,  that  all  his 
life-time  after,  every  night  when  he  heard  the  cock  crow,  he  would  fall 
upon  his  knees  and  weep  bitterly,  begging  pardon  for  this  dreadful  sin.* 

Others  say,  that  after  his  lying,  cursing,  and  denying  of  Christ,  he 
was  ever  and  anon  weeping,  and  that  his  face  was  furrowed  with  con- 
tinual tears.  He  had  no  sooner  taken  in  poison,  but  he  vomits  it  up 
again,  before  it  got  to  the  vitals.  He  had  no  sooner  handled  a  serpent, 
but  he  turns  it  into  a  rod  to  scourge  his  soul  with  remorse.  This  truth 
is  further  confirmed  by  the  speech  and  carriage  of  the  disciples  :  Luke 
xxiv.  21,  seq.,  '  We  trusted,'  say  they,  '  that  it  had  been  he  which  should 
have  redeemed  Israel,  but  now  we  cannot  tell  what  to  say  to  it.'  Here 
their  hope  hangs  the  wing  extremely.  Weak  souls  find  it  as  hard  to 
wait  for  God,  as  it  is  to  bear  evil.^  This  weakness  Christ  checks,  ver. 
25,  'O  fools,  and  slow  of  heart  to  believe  all  that  the  prophets  have 
spoken,'  &c.     And  John  xvi.  5,  the  first  news  Christ  tells  them,  is  of 

'  Cavehis  autem,  si  pavebis.  ^  Plutarch,  &c.,  as  before. — G. 

^  xxroivcchf^x-r't^iiv.  Vide  Calvm  on  the  text  in  Rom.  vi.  19,  There  are  three  tos  in 
the  expression  of  tlie  service  of  sin:  to  uncleanness,  to  iniquity,  and  unto  iniquity  ;  but 
in  the  service  of  God  there  are  only  two  tos :  to  righteousness,  and  unto  holiness  ;  to 
note  that  we  are  more  prone  to  sin  before  conversion,  than  we  are  to  grace  and  holiness 
after  conversion.  <  In  loco  :  Epist.— G. 

^  Invalidnm  omne  naturd  queridum,  weak  spirits  are  ever  quarrelling  and  contending. 
[Seneca  :  Be  Animi  Tranqmllitaie.—G.'] 


EpH.  hi.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  59 

their  sufferings  and  of  his  leaving  of  them;  and  upon  the  thoughts 
hereof  their  hearts  were  so  filled  with  sorrow,  that  they  could  not  so 
much  as  say,  '  Master,  whither  goest  thou  V  ver.  6.  But  now,  souls 
strong  in  grace  will  hold  on  in  holy  and  gracious  actings  in  the  very 
face  of  the  greatest  discouragements,  as  those  in  Ps.  xliv.  19,  '  Though 
thou  hast  sore  broken  us  in  the  place  of  dragons,  and  covered  us  with 
the  shadow  oF  death,  yet  our  heart  is  not  turned  back,  neither  have 
our  steps  declined  from  thy  ways.'  And  so  the  three  children,  they 
hold  up  in  the  face  of  all  discouragements.  And  so  those  brave  worthies, 
of  whom  this  world  was  not  worthy,  Heb.  xi.,  their  hearts  were  carried 
out  exceedingly,  notwithstanding  all  discouragements,  to  hold  on  in 
ways  of  holiness,  and  in  their  actings  of  faith  upon  God,  in  the  face  of 
all  dangers  and  deaths  that  did  attend  them.^ 

When  Henry  the  Eighth  had  spoken  and  written  bitterly  against 
Luther,  saith  Luther,  Tell  the  Henries,  the  bishops,  the  Turks,  and  the 
devil  himself,  do  what  they  can,  we  are  children  of  the  kingdom,  wor- 
shipping of  the  true  God,  whom  they,  and  such  as  they,  spit  upon  and 
crucified.^  And  of  the  same  spirit  and  metal  were  many  martyrs. 
Basil  affirms  of  the  primitive  saints,  that  they  had  so  much  courage 
and  confidence  in  their  sufferings,  that  many  of  the  heathens,  seeing 
their  heroic  zeal  and  constancy,  turned  Christians. 

[12.]  Twelfthly,  Weak  saints  mind  their  wages  and  veils  more  than 
their  work. 

Their  wages,  their  veils,^  is  joy,  peace,  comfort,  and  assurance,  &c. ; 
and  their  work  is  waiting  on  God,  believing  in  God,  walking  with  C^od, 
acting  for  God,  &c.  Now,  weak  saints' minds  are  more  carried  out,  and 
taken  up  about  their  wages,  about  their  veils,  than  they  are  about  their 
work,  as  experience  doth  abundantly  evidence.*  Ah!  Christians,  if  you 
don't  mind  your  wages  more  than  your  work,  what  means  the  bleating 
of  the  sheep,  and  the  lowing  of  the  oxen?  1  Sam.  xv.  14.  What 
means  those  earnest  and  vehement  cryings  out  and  wrestlings  for  joy, 
peace,  comfort,  and  assurance,  when  the  great  work  of  believing,  of 
waiting,  and  of  walking^  with  God,  is  so  much  neglected  and  disregarded? 
But  now  strong  saints  are  more  mindful  of  their  work  than  they  are  of 
their  wages.  Lord!  saith  a  strong  saint,  do  but  uphold  me  in  a  way  of 
believing,  in  a  way  of  working,  in  a  way  of  holy  walking,  &c.,  and  it 
shall  be  enough,  though  I  should  never  have  assurance,  comfort,  peace, 
or  joy,  till  my  dying  day.  If  thou  wilt  carry  me  forth  so  as  thou 
mayest  have  honour,  though  I  have  no  comfort ;  so  thou  mayest  have 
glory,  though  I  have  no  peace,  I  will  bless  thee,  Rom.  iv.  18-20.  I 
know,  says  such  a  soul,  though  a  life  of  comfort  be  most  pleasing  to 
me,  yet  a  life  of  believing,  abstracted  from  comfort,  is  most  honourable 
to  thee,  and  therefore  I  will  be  silent  before  thee.  Lord  !  do  but  help 
me  in  my  work,  and  take  thine  own  time  to  give  me  my  wages,  to  give 
me  comfort,  joy,  peace,  assurance.  They  are  none  of  the  best  servants 
that  mind  their  wages  more  than  their  work,  nor  they  are  none  of  the 

•  Such  a  spirit  shined  in  Chrysostom  when  he  bid  them  tell  the  enraged  empress 
Eudoxia,  Nil  nisi peccatum  timeo,  I  fear  nothing  but  sin. 

2  '  Table  Talk,'  as  before,  with  reference  to  Henry  8th's  •  Assertio  Sacramentorum 
adversus  Lutherum,'  1521,  which  won  for  him  from  the  pope  his  title  of  '  Defender  of 
the  Faith.'— G.  3  '  Presents.'— G. 

♦  Children  mind  more  play-days  than  they  do  working-days,  or  school-days. 


60  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH,  III.  8. 

best  Christians  that  mind  their  comforts  and  their  in-comes^  more  than 
that  homage  and  duty  that  they  owe  to  God, 

Before  I  come  to  the  second  thing  premised,  give  me  leave  to  give 
you  this  hint ;  viz.,  that  there  is  no  such  way  to  joy,  peace,  and  assur- 
ance, as  this,  to  mind  your  work  more  than  your  wages.  Ah  I  had  many 
mourning,  complaining  Christians  done  thus,  their  mourning  before  this 
had  been  turned  into  rejoicing,  and  their  complaining  into  singings. 
Christians,  th^  high  way  to  comfort  is  to  mind  comfort  less,  and  duty 
more ;  it  is  to  mind  more  what  thou  shouldst  do,  than  what  thou 
wouldst  have,  as  you  may  see  in  Eph.  i.  13,  '  In  whom  ye  also  trusted, 
after  that  ye  heard  the  word  of  faith,  the  gospel  of  your  salvation :  in 
whom  also,  after  that  ye  believed,  ye  were  sealed  with  that  Holy  Spirit 
of  promise." 

The  original  runs  thus,  sv  IL  xal  'TTKsrsvffavng^  in  whom  believing,  ye  were 
sealed.  While  faith  is  busied  and  exercised  about  Christ,  and  those 
varieties  of  glories  and  excellencies  that  are  in  him,  the  Lord  comes, 
and  by  his  Spirit  seals  up  the  life,  and  love,  and  glory  of  them. 

Thus  by  divine  assistance  I  have  despatched  the  first  thing,  viz.,  the 
deciphering  of  weak  Christians. 

II.  The  second  thing  that  I  propounded  for  the  further  opening  and 
clearing  of  this  point  was,  to  hold  forth  to  you  those  things  that  fend  to 
sujpport,  cor)ifort,  and  uphold  weak  Christians.  And  truly  I  must 
needs  say,  that  if  ever  there  were  a  time  wherein  weak  Christians  had 
need  of  support,  I  verily  believe  this  is  the  time  wherein  we  live,  for 
by  the  horrid  profaneness  of  men  on  the  one  hand,  and  the  abominable, 
loose,  and  rotten  principles  of  others  on  the  other  hand,  the  hearts  of 
many  weak  Christians  especially  are  sadded,  that  God  would, not  have 
sadded,  and  their  spirits  wounded  and  grieved,  that  God  would  have 
comforted  and  healed ;  and  therefore  I  shall  dwell  the  longer  upon  this 
second  thing. 

And  the  first  thing  that  I  shall  lay  down  by  way  of  support  is  this. 
Support  1.  That  the  weakest  Christians  have  as  much  interest  and 
propriety  in  Christ,  and  all  the  fundamental  good  that  comes  by 
Christ,  as  the  strongest  saints  in  the  world  have? 

Weak  saints  are  as  much  united  to  Christ,  as  much  justified  by  Christ, 
as  much  reconciled  by  Christ,  and  as  much  pardoned  by  Christ,  as  the 
strongest  saints.  It  is  true,  weak  Christians  cannot  make  so  much  im- 
provement and  advantage  of  their  interest  in  Christ,  as  strong  saints 
can  ;  they  have  not  that  power,  that  wisdom,  that  spiritual  skill  to 
make  that  advantage  of  their  interest  and  propriety  in  Christ  as  strong 
saints  have ;  yet  have  they  as  much  interest  and  propriety  in  the  Lord 
Jesus,  and  all  the  fundamental  good  that  comes  by  him,  as  the  strongest 
saint  that  breathes.  The  sucking  child  hath  as  much  interest  and  pro- 
priety in  the  father,  and  in  what  is  the  father,^  as  the  child  that  is  grown 
up  to  age,  though  the  young  child  has  not  that  skill,  nor  that  power, 
nor  wisdom  to  improve  that  interest  to  his  advantage,  as  he  that  is 
grown  up  in  years  hath.     It  is  just  so  here;  a  soul  weak  in  grace  hath 

'  =  '  Incomings'  of  the  Spirit  of  graces. — G. 

*  He  that  looked  upon  the  brazen  serpent,  though  with  a  weak  sight,  was  healed  as 
thoroughly  as  he  that  looked  upon  it  with  a  stronger  sight.  A  weak  faith  is  a  joint  pos- 
sessor, though  no  faith  can  be  a  joint  purchaser  of  Christ.  ^  Qu.  '  father's '  ?— Ed. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  61 

as  much  interest  in  the  Lord  as  the  strongest  saint  hath,  though  he 
hath  not  that  skill  to  improve  that  imterest.  And  is  not  this  a  singular 
comfort  and  snpport  ?  Verily,  were  there  no  more  to  bear  up  a  poor 
weak  saint  from  fainting  under  all  their  sins,  and  sorrows,  and  suffer- 
ings, yet  this  alone  might  do  it,  &c. 

The  second  support  and  comfort  to  weak  saints  is  this  : 

Support  2.  That  God  doth  vnth  an  eye  of  love  reflect  upon  the  least 
good  that  is  in  them,  or  done  by  thenn} 

And  is  not  this  a  glorious  comfort  and  support,  that  the  Lord  looks 
with  an  eye  of  love  upon  the  least  good  that  is  in  you,  or  done  by  you? 
You  cannot  have  a  good  thought,  but  God  looks  upon  that  thought 
with  an  eye  of  love  :  Ps.  xxxii  5,  *  I  said  I  would  confess  my  sin,  and 
thou  forgavest  mine  iniquity.'  I  said  it  in  my  thoughts,  that  I  would 
confess  my  sin,  and  thou  presently  meeting  me  with  pardoning  mercy, 
forgavest  mine  iniquity.  So  in  Mai.  iii.  16,  'And  there  was  a  book  of 
remembrance  written  for  them  that  feared  the  Lord,  and  that  thought 
upon  his  name.'  They  had  but  some  thoughts  of  God,  and  God  re- 
flects upon  those  thoughts  with  an  eye  of  love  :  Isa.  xxxviii.  5,  '  I  have 
heard  thy  prayers,  I  have  seen  thy  tears.'  Tears  we  look  upon  but  as 
poor  things,  and  yet  God  looks  upon  them  as  pearls,  and  therefore  he 
puts  them  into  his  bottle,  as  the  psalmist  speaks.^  There  is  not  a  bit 
of  bread,  not  a  drop  of  drink  thou  givest,  but  God  casts  an  eye  of  love 
upon  it.  Mat.  xxv.  35,  36. 

There  is  not  a  desire  that  arises  in  thy  soul,  but  the  Lord  takes 
notice  of  it:  Prov.  x.  17,  'Thou  hast  heard  the  desire  of  the  humble.' 
Weak  saints  are  full  of  desires,  their  whole  life  is  a  life  of  desires,  they 
are  still  a-breathing  out  holy  desires :  Lord,  pardon  such  a  sin,  and 
give  me  power  against  such  a  sin,  and  strength,  Lord,  to  withstand  such 
a  temptation,  and  grace.  Lord,  to  uphold  me  under  such  an  affliction, 
&c. ;  and  the  Lord  hears  and  answers  such  gracious  breathings  and 
longings. 

It  was  holy  Jewel's  desire,  that  he  might  die  preaching ;  and  God 
looked  with  an  eye  of  love  upon  his  desire,  and  he  had  it. 

It  was  Latimer's  desire,  that  he  might  shed  his  heart's  blood  for 
Christ ;  and  God  looked  with  an  eye  of  lov-e  upon  the  breathiugs  of  his 
heart,  and  he  had  it. 

The  Israelites  did  but  groan,  and  God  looked  upon  their  groans  with 
an  eye  of  love  ;  he  comes  down,  he  makes  his  arm  bare,  he  tramples 
upon  their  proud  enemies,  and  by  miracles  he  saved  them.  O  weak 
Christian  1  is  not  this  a  singular  comfort,  that  the  Lord  reflects  with  an 
eye  of  love  upon  your  thoughts,  upon  your  desires,  upon  your  tears,  and 
upon  your  groanings,  &e.  What  though  others  slight  you  !  what 
though  others  take  no  notice  of  you  !  yet  the  Lord  casts  an  eye  of  love 
upon  you. 

Some  think  it  very  strange  that  God  should  set  down  in  Scripture 
the  story  of  Jacob,  a  poor  countryman.  Gen.  xxxi.,  that  he  had  a  few 
ewes  and  Iambs,  streaked  and  spotted,  and  yet  take  no  notice  of  the 

•  The  least  star  gives  light ;  the  least  drop  moistens. 

2  So  in  Ps.  vi.  8,  one  ohserves  that  there  are  two  strong  things  in  tears  :  [1.]  Deor- 
sum  flaunt,  et  ccelum  petunt,  they  drop  downward,  and  fall  to  the  earth  ;  yet  they  reach  up- 
wards, and  pierce  the  heavens.  [2.]  Muice  sunt  et  loquuntur,  they  hold  their  peace,  yet 
cry  very  loud. 


62  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

great  emperors  and  kings  of  the  earth,  nor  of  their  great  actions  and 
warlike  designs  in  the  world.  But  this  is  to  shew  that  tender  love  and 
respect  that  God  bears  to  his  children,  above  what  he  does  to  the  great 
ones  of  tliis  world.  God  is  more  taken  with  Lazarus's  patched  coat  than 
with  Dives's  silken  robe,  &c. 

A  third  thing  that  I  shall  propound  for  the  support  and  comfort  of 
weak  saints  is  this  : 

Sujyport  3.  Consider,  the  Lord  looks  more  upon  your  graces  than 
he  doth  upon  your  iveaknesses. 

Or  thus, 

The  Lord  will  not  cast  away  weak  saints,  hy  reason  of  the  weak- 
nesses that  cleaves  to  their  persons  or  services. 

In  2  Chron.  xxx.  18-20,  there  came  a  multitude  of  people  to  eat  the 
passover,  but  they  were  not  prepared  according  to  the  preparation  of 
the  sanctuary ;  therefore  Hezekiah  puts  up  a  prayer  for  them,  and  the 
text  saith,  that  the  '  Lord  hearkened  to  Hezekiah,  and  healed  the  peo- 
ple.' The  Lord  looked  upon  their  uprightness,  and  so  passed  over  all 
their  other  weaknesses.  He  did  not  cast  off  Peter  for  his  horrid  sins, 
but  rather  looks  upon  him  with  an  eye  of  love  and  pity  :  Mark  xvi.  7, 
'  But  go  your  way,  tell  his  disciples  and  Peter,  that  he  goeth  before  you 
into  Galilee  ;  there  shall  ye  see  him,  as  he  said  unto  you.'  O  admirable 
love  !  0  matchless  mercy  !  where  sin  abounds,  grace  does  superabound. 
This  is  the  glory  of  Christ,  that  he  carries  it  sweetly  towards  his  people, 
when  they  carry  themselves  unworthily  towards  him.  Christ  looks 
more  upon  Peter's  sorrow  than  upon  his  sin,  upon  his  tears  than  upon 
his  oaths,  &c.  The  Lord  will  not  cast  away  weak  saints  for  their  great 
unbelief,  because  there  is  a  little  faith  in  them.  He  will  not  throw 
them  away  for  that  hypocrisy  that  is  in  them,  because  of  that  little 
sincerity  that  is  in  them.  He  will  not  cast  away  weak  saints  for  that 
pride  that  is  in  them,  because  of  those  rays  of  humility  that  shine  in 
them.  He  will  not  despise  his  people  for  their  passions,  because  of 
those  grains  of  meekness  that  are  in  them.  We  will  not  throw  away  a 
little  gold  because  of  a  great  deal  of  dross  that  cleaves  to  it,  nor  a  little 
wheat  because  mixed  with  much  chaff,  and  will  God  ?  will  God  ? 

We  will  not  cast  away  our  garments  because  of  some  spots,  nor  our 
books  because  of  some  blots,  nor  our  jewels  because  of  some  flaws,  and 
do  we  think  that  the  Lord  will  cast  away  his  dearest  ones,  because  of 
their  spots,  and  blots,  and  flaws  ?  Surely  no.  God  looks  more  upon  the 
bright  side  of  the  cloud  than  the  dark  :  James  v.  11,  '  Remember  the 
patience  of  Job.'  It  is  not,  remember  the  murmuring  of  Job,  the 
cursing  of  Job,  the  complainings  of  Job,  the  impatience  of  Job  ;  but, 
*  Remember  the  patience  of  Job.'  God  looks  upon  the  pearl,  and  not 
upon  the  spot  that  is  in  it.  So  in  Heb.  xi.  30,  31,  there  is  mention 
made  of  Rahab's  faith,  love,  and  peaceable  behaviour  towards  the  spies, 
but  no  mention  made  of  her  lie.  The  Lord  overlooks  her  weakness, 
and  keeps  his  eye  upon  her  virtues.  Where  God  sees  but  a  little  grace, 
he  doth  as  it  were  hide  his  eyes  from  those  circumstances  that  might 
seem  to  deface  the  glory  of  it.  So  in  1  Pet.  iii.  6,  '  Even  as  Sarah 
obeyed  Abraham,  calling  him  lord.'  Mark  there  was  but  one  good 
word  in  Sarah's  speech  to  Abraham,  she  called  her  husband  lord  ;  the 
speech  otherwise  was  a  speech  of  unbelief,  yet  the  Holy  Ghost  speaking 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  63 

of  her  in  reference  to  that  speech,  conceals  all  the  evil  in  it,  and  men- 
tions only  the  reverent  title  she  gave  to  her  husband,  commending  her 
for  it. 

He  that  drew  Alexander,  whilst  he  had  a  scar  npon  his  face,  drew 
him  with  his  finger  upon  the  scar.  So  when  the  Lord  comes  to  look 
upon  a  poor  soul,  he  lays  his  finger  upon  the  scar,  upon  the  infirmity, 
that  he  may  see  nothing  but  grace,  which  is  the  beauty  and  the  glory 
of  the  soul.  Ah  1  but  weak  Christians  are  more  apt  to  look  upon  their 
infirmities  than  on  their  graces,  and  because  their  little  gold  is  mixed 
with  a  great  deal  of  dross,  they  are  ready  to  throw  away  all  as  dross. 
Well,  remember  this,  the  Lord  Jesus  hath  as  great  and  as  large  an 
interest  in.the  weakest  saints,  as  he  hath  in  the  strongest.  He  hath  the 
interest  of  a  friend,  and  the  interest  of  a  father,  and  the  interest  of  a 
head,  and  the  interest  of  a  husband  ;  and,  therefore,  though  saints  be 
weak,  yea,  though  they  be  very  weak,  yet  having  as  great  and  as  large 
an  interest  in  them  as  in  the  strongest  saints,  he  cannot  but  overlook 
their  weakness,  and  keep  a  fixed  eye  upon  their  graces. 

K  fourth  support  is  this  : 

Support  4.  That  the  Lord  will  graciously  ^preserve  and  strengthen 
those  weak  graces  that  are  in  you} 

Though  your  graces  be  as  a  spark  of  fire  in  the  midst  of  an  ocean  of 
corruption,  yet  the  Lord  will  preserve  and  blow  up  that  spark  of  fire 
into  a  flame.  It  was  the  priest's  office  in  the  time  of  the  law,  to  keep 
the  fire  in  the  sanctuary  from  going  out  ;  and  it  is  the  office  of  our 
Lord  Jesus,  as  he  is  our  high  priest,  our  head,  our  husband,  our  media- 
tor, for  to  blow  up  that  heavenly  fire  that  he  hath  kindled  in  any  of  our 
souls.  His  honour,  his  faithfulness,  and  his  goodness  is  engaged  in  it, 
and  therefore  he  cannot  but  do  it,  else  he  would  lose  much  love  and 
many  prayers  and  praises,  did  he  not  cherish,  preserve,  and  strengthen 
his  own  work  in  his  own  people.  The  faith  of-  the  disciples  was  gene- 
rally weak,  as  I  have  formerly  shewed  you,  and  yet  how  sweetly  doth 
the  Lord  Jesus  carry  it  towards  them  !  John  xvi.,  Acts  ii.  He  was 
still  a-breathing  out  light,  life,  and  love  upon  them  ;  he  was  still  a- 
turning  their  water  into  wine,  their  bitter  into  sweet,  and  their  discour- 
agements into  encouragements,  and  all  to  raise  and  keep  up  their 
spirits.  His  heart  was  much  in  this  thing,  therefore  says  he,  '  It  is 
necessary  that  I  leave  you,  that  I  may  send  the  Comforter  to  be  a  com- 
fort and  guide  unto  you.'  I  will  pour  out  my  Spirit  upon  you,  that  a 
little  one  may  become  a  thousand,  and  a  small  one  a  strong  nation, 
and  that  the  feeble  may  be  as  David,  and  the  house  of  David  as  God, 
as  the  angel  of  the  Lord,-Zech.  xii.  8.  That  is  a  sweet  text,  Isa.  Ixv.  8, 
'  Thus  saith  the  Lord,  As  the  new  wine  is  found  in  the  clusters,  and  one 
saith,  Destroy  it  not,  for  a  blessing  is  in  it,  so  will  I  do  for  my  servants' 
sake,'  &c.  Oh,  saith  Christ  to  the  Father,  here  are  a  company  of  weak 
saints  that  have  some  buddings  of  grace,  oh  do  not  destroy  it.  Father  ! 
there  is  a  blessing  in  it,  though  it  be  but  weak.  The  genuine  sense  of 
the  similitude,  I  think,  is  this  :  when  a  vine  being  blasted  or  otherwise 
decayed  is  grown  so  bad  and  so  barren,  that  scarce  any  good  clusters  of 
grapes  can  he  discerned  on  it,  whereby  it  may  be  deemed  to  have  any  life, 
or  of  ever  becoming  fruitful  again,  and  the  husbandman  is  about  to  grub 

'  The  tallest  oak  was  once  an  acorn,  and  the  deepest  doctor  was  once  in  his  horn-book. 


fj4  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

it  up  or  cut  it  down  to  the  ground,  one  standing  by  sees  here  a  cluster, 
and  there  a  little  cluster,  and  cries  out,  Oh  do  not  grub  up  the  vine, 
do  not  cut  down  the  vine,  it  hath  a  little  life,  and  by  good  husbandry 
it  may  be  made  fruitful.  We  may  look  upon  the  Lord  Jesus  as  thus 
pleading  with  his  Father's  justice  :  Father,  I  know  thou  seest  that  these 
souls  are  dry  and  barren,  and  that  there  is  little  or  no  good  in  them, 
and  therefore  thou  mightest  justly  cut  them  down.  But,  O  my  Father  ! 
I  see  here  a  bunch  and  there  a  bunch,  here  a  little  grace  and  there  a 
little  grace,  surely  there  is  a  blessing  it.  Oh  spare  it,  let  it  not  be 
stubbed  up,  let  it  not  be  destroyed. 

Mat.  xii.  27,  '  A  bruised  reed  shall  he  not  break,  nor  smoking  flax 
shall  he  not  quench,  till  he  send  forth  judgment  unto  victory.'^ 

'  A  bruised  reed  shall  he  not  break.'  The  Jewish  commentators 
carry  it  thus  :  he  shall  not  tyrannise  over,  but  nourish  and  cherish  the 
poor,  weak,  feeble  ones,  that  are  wont  to  be  oppressed  by  great  ones. 
But  men  more  spiritual  carry  it  thus :  Christ  will  not  cany  it  roughly  and 
rigorously  towards  poor  weak  tender  souls,  whose  graces  are  as  a  bruised 
reed  and  as  smoking  flax.  A  reed  is  a  contemptible  thing,  a  tender 
thino",  it  will  break  sometimes  before  a  man  is  aware ;  a  bruised  reed 
is  more  tender,  it  will  be  broken  with  a  touch,  yet  Christ  will  not  break 
such  a  bruised  reed,  i.e.  a  soul  weak  in  grace. 

'  Nor  quench  the  smoking  flax/  The  wick  of  a  candle  is  little  worth, 
and  yet  less  when  it  smokes,  as  yielding  neither  light  nor  heat,  but 
rather  smokes,  and  offends  with  an  ill  smell,  which  men  cannot  bear, 
but  will  tread  it  out.  But  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ  will  not  do  so.  Souls 
whose  knowledge,  love,  faith,  and  zeal  do  as  but  smoke  out,  the  Lord 
Jesus  will  not  trample  under  foot ;  nay,  he  will  cherish,  nourish,  and 
strengthen  such  to  life  eternal.  Look,  what  tallow  is  to  the  wick,  or 
oil  is  to  the  lamp,  that  will  the  Lord  Jesus  be  to  the  graces  of  weak 
Christians. 

'  Till  he  shall  bring  forth  judgment  unto  victory.'  That  is,  until  the 
sanctified  frame  of  grace  begun  in  their  hearts  be  brought  to  that  per- 
fection that  it  prevaileth  over  all  opposite  corruption. 

Thus  you  see  how  sweetly  the  Lord  Jesus  carries  it  to  souls  weak 
in  grace  ;  therefore  let  not  those  that  bring  forth  a  hundredfold  despise 
those  that  bring  forth  but  thirty,  nor  those  that  have  five  talents  despise 
those  that  have  but  two. 
The  fifth  support  is  this : 

Support  5.  That  weak  saints  may  he  very  useful  to  the  strong,  and 
sometimes  'iuay  do  more  than  strong  saints  can. 

As  you  may  see  in  1  Cor.  xii.  14)  to  28.^  The  apostle  in  this  Scrip- 
ture discovers  the  singular  use  of  the  weakest  saint  in  the  body  of 
Christ  by  the  usefulness  of  the  weakest  and  meanest  member  in  the 
natural  body  to  the  strongest :  ver.  21,  '  The  eye  cannot  say  to  the  hand, 

^  \)t,p>a.\Xu :  to  brin^  forth.  It  is  the  custom  of  all  writers,  and  very  frequent  in  the  sacred 
dialect,  to  use  phrases  whereby  they  understand  much  more  than  they  do  express  :  an 
example  whereof  you  have  in  this  verse,  where  Christ's  not  breaking  the  bruised  reed 
signifies  his  great  mercy  and  kindness  in  repairing,  and  restoring,  and  curing  tlie  bruised 
weakling.  And  so  his  not  quenching  the  smoking  flax  is  his  enlivening,  quickening, 
and  inflaming  that  fire  or  spark  of  grace  or  goodness  which  was  almost  quenched,  &c. 

2  Others  understand  the  words  of  Christ  setting  up  the  profession  of  the  gospel  in  tho 
world  among  the  heathens,  if  the  Jews  will  not  receive  it. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  65 

I  have  no  need  of  thee ;  nor  again  the  head  to  the  foot,  I  have  no  need 
of  thee.'  By  the  head  and  by  the  eye  he  means  such  saints  as  were 
eminent  in  gifts  and  graces,  that  were  adorned  more  richly  and  that 
shined  more  gloriously  in  grace  and  gracious  abilities  than  others.  Oh 
these  should  not  despise  those  that  were  not  so  eminent  and  excellent 
as  themselves;  for  God  hath  so  tempered  the  inequality  of  the  members 
in  the  natural  body,  that  the  more  excellent  and  beautiful  members  can 
in  no  wise  lack  the  more  abject  and  weak  members ;  therefore  slight 
not  the  weakest  saints,  for  certainly,  at  first  or  last,  the  weakest  will  be 
serviceable  to  the  strongest.  A  dwarf  may  be  useful  to  a  giant,  a  child 
to  a  man ;  sometimes  a  little  finger  shall  do  that  that  a  limb  in  the 
body  cannot  do ;  it  is  so  often  in  Christ's  spiritual  body.^  I  will  give  you 
a  very  famous  instance  for  this. 

At  the  council  of  Nice  there  was  318  bishops,  and  by  the  subtlety  of 
a  philosopher  disputing  against  the  marriage  of  ministers,  they  gene- 
rally voted  against  it,  that  those  that  were  single  should  not  marry. 
At  length  up  starts  Paphnutius,  a  plain  Christian,  and  in  the  name  of 
Christ,  with  the  naked  word  of  God,  he  pleaded  against  them  all  in  that 
case;  and  God  so  wrought  by  his  arguments,  that  he  convinced  the  318 
bishops,  and  carried  the  cause  against  them  ;  yea,  and  so  convinced  the 
philosopher  of  his  error,  that  before  all  he  freely  confessed  it:  'As  long,' 
saith  he,/  as  men's  words  were  only  pressed,  I  could  repel  words  with 
words  ;  but  what  is  weak  man  to  withstand  the  word  of  God  ?  I  yield ; 
I  am  conquered.'^ 

Weak  Christians  may  be  of  singular  use  to  the  strongest ;  those  that 
know  most  may  learn  more  even  from  the  weakest  saints.^ 

Junius  was  converted  by  discoursing  with  a  ploughman ;  *  and,  Acts 
xviii.  24  to  27,  Apollos,  though  he  was  an  eloquent  man  and  mighty 
in  the  Scriptures  as  the  text  speaks,  yet  was  he  furthered  and  bettered 
in  the  knowledge  of  Christ's  kingdom  by  Aquila  and  Priscilla.  A  poor 
tent-maker  and  his  wife  were  instrumental  to  acquaint  him  with  those 
things  that  he  knew  but  weakly.  He  had  not  ascended  above  John's 
baptism,  but  they  had,  and  so  communicated  their  light  and  knowledge 
to  him. 

The  sixth  support  is  this: 

Support  6.  Where  there  is  hut  a  little  grace,  there  God  expects  less, 
and  will  accept  of  less,  though  it  be  accompanied  with  many  failings. 

Thou  sayest,  Oh!  I  have  but  a  little  grace,  a  little  faith,  a  little  love, 
a  little  zeal.  Oh  know,  where  there  is  but  a  little  grace,  there  God 
expects  less  obedience,  and  will  accept  of  less  service  :  2  Cor.  viii.  12, 
*  For  if  there  be  first  a  willing  mind,  it  is  accepted  according  to  that 
which  a  man  hath,  and  not  according  to  that  which  he  hath  not.'  The 
two  mites  cast  into  the  treasury,  Luke  xxi.  3,  by  the  poor  widow,  her 
heart  being  in  the  action,  were  more  acceptable  than  two  talents  cast  in 
by  others.  Noah's  sacrifice  could  not  be  great,  and  yet  it  was  greatly 
accepted  by  God.     In  the  time  of  the  law,  God  accepted  a  handful  of 

'  It  was  a  saying  of  General  Vera  to  the  king  of  Denmark,  that  kings  cared  not  for 
soldiers,  until  such  time  that  their  crowns  hung  on  the  one  side  of  their  heads.  [See 
Sibbes,  vol.  i.  35. — G.]  ^  Socrates,  Eccles.  Hist. :  ^Sub  nomine. — G.] 

3  A  little  star  hath  light  and  influence,  though  not  the  glory  which  is  proper  to  the 
sun.  ♦  As  before,  page  21. — G. 

VOL.  III.  E 


66  .  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EpH.  III.  8. 

meal  for  a  sacrifice,  and  a  gripe  of  goat's  hair  for  an  oblation  ;  and  cer- 
tainly God  hath  lost  none  of  his  affections  to  poor  souls  in  the  time  of 
the  gospel :  Cant.  ii.  14,  *  Let  me  hear  thy  voice,  for  thy  voice  is  sweet, 
.  and  thy  countenance  is  lovely.'  The  Hebrew  word  ethkolech  signifies 
any  sound  such  as  birds  or  brutes  make.  Their  chattering  is  like  lovely 
songs  in  the  ear  of  God,  their  mite  is  a  sweet  oblation.  Parents,  that 
have  but  some  drops  of  that  love  and  tender  affection  that  is  in  God  to 
his  people,  yet  accept  of  a  very  little  service  from  their  weak  children ; 
and  will  not  God  ?  In  time  of  strength  God  looks  for  much,  but  in  the 
time  of  weakness  God  will  bear  much,  and  overlook  much,  and  accept 
of  a  little,  yea,  of  a  very  little.^ 

One,  writing  of  the  tree  of  knowledge,  saith  that  'it  bears  many 
leaves,  but  little  fruit.'  Though  weak  saints  have  a  great  many  leaves, 
and  but  little  fruit,  little  grace,  yet  that  little  the  Lord  will  kindly 
accept  of 

Artaxerxes,  the  Persian  monarch,  was  famous  for  accepting  of  a  little 
water  from  the  hand  of  a  loving  subject ;  God  makes  himself  famous, 
and  his  grace  glorious,  by  his  kind  acceptation  of  the  weakest  endea- 
vours of  his  people,  &c. 

The  seventh  support  is  this: 

Support  7.  The  least  measure  of  grace  is  as  true  an  earnest,  and  as 
good  and  sure  a  pledge  of  greater  measures  of  grace  that  the  soul  shall 
have  here,  and  of  glory  that  the  soul  shall  have  hereafter,  as  the  greatest 
measure  of  grace  is.^ 

'  He  that  hath  begun  a  good  work,  he  will  perfect  it  to  the  day  of 
Christ,'  Philip,  i.  6.  Christ  is  called  not  only  the  author,  but  also  the 
finisher  of  our  faith,  Heb.  xii.  2.  In  Mai.  iv.  2,  3,  '  Unto  you  that  fear 
my  name,  shall  the  Sun  of  righteousness  arise,  with  heaUng  in  his 
wings,  and  he  shall  go  forth  and  grow  up  as  calves  of  the  stall.'  And 
so  in  Job  xvii.  9,  '  The  righteous  shall  hold  on  his  way,  and  he  that  hath 
clean  hands  shall  be  stronger  and  stronger.'^  Zech.  xii.  8,  '  In  that  day 
shall  the  Lord  defend  the  inhabitants  of  Jerusalem,  and  he  that  is 
feeble  among  them  at  that  day  shall  be  as  David,  and  the  house  of 
David  shall  be  as  God,  as  the  angel  of  the  Lord  before  them.'  So  in 
Hosea  xiv.  5-7,  I  will  be  as  the  dew  to  Israel,  he  shall  grow  as  the  lily, 
and  cast  forth  his  fruits  as  Lebanon  :  his  branches  shall  spread,  and  his 
beauty  shall  be  as  the  olive  tree,  and  his  smell  as  Lebanon.  They  that 
dwell  under  his  shadow  shall  return,  they  shall  revive  as  the  corn,  and 
grow  as  the  vine :  the  scent  thereof  shall  be  as  the  wine  of  Lebanon,' 

The  tree  in  Alcinous's  garden  had  always  blossoms,  buds,  and  ripe 
fruits,  one  under  another.  Such  a  tree  will  God  make  every  Christian 
to  be.  *  The  righteous,'  though  never  so  weak,  '  shall  flourish  like  the 
palm  tree,'  Ps.  xcii.  12-1 -t.  Now  the  palm  tree  never  loseth  his  leaf  or 
fruit,  saith  Pliny. 

*  It  is  very  observable  that  the  eagle  and  the  lion,  those  brave  creatures,  were  not 
offered  in  sacrifice  unto  God,  but  the  poor  lamb  and  dove  :  to  note  that  your  brave,  high, 
and  lofty  spirits  God  regards  not ;  but  your  poor,  meek,  contemptible  spirits  God  accepts. 

2  Though  men  often  lose  their  earnest,  yet  God  will  never  lose  his.  His  earnest  is 
very  obliging. 

3  The  Hebrew  word  I")"!,  or  way,  signifies  a  distinct  course  from  others,  as  the  way 
from  one  town  differs  from  the  way  to  another.  Here  in  Job  it  is  taken  for  a  course  in 
plenty. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  EICHES  OF  CHRIST.  67 

An  old  man  being  asked  if  he  grew  in  goodness,  answered,  Yea, 
doubtless  I  believe  I  do,  because  the  Lord  hath  said,  '  They  shall  still 
bring  forth  fruit  in  old  age,  they  shall  be  fat,  and  flourishing;'  or  green, 
as  the  Hebrew  hath  it.^ 

In  the  island  of  St  Thomas,  on  the  back  side  of  Africa,  in  the  midst 
of  it  is  a  hill,  and  over  that  a  continual  cloud,  wherewith  the  whole 
island  is  watered.  Such  a  cloud  is  Christ  to  weak  saints.  Though  our 
hearts  naturally  are  like  the  isle  of  Patmos,  which  is  so  barren  of  any 
good  as  that  nothing  will  grow  but  on  earth  that  is  brought  from  other, 
places,  yet  Christ  will  make  them  like  *  a  watered  garden,  and  like  a 
spring  of  water,  whose  waters  fail  not,'  Isa.  Iviii,  11. 

The  eighth  support  is  this : 

Support  8.  That  the  least  good  that  is  done  by  the  weakest  saint 
shall  not  be  despised  by  Christ,  but  highly  esteemed  and  rewarded.^ 

As  you  may  see  in  Mat.  xix.  27,  *  Behold  we  have  forsaken  all,  and 
followed  thee,  and  what  shall  we  have?'  A  great  all!  a  great  catch 
indeed,  as  I  have  formerly  shewed  you  ;  they  left  a  few  old  boats  and 
torn  nets  and  poor  household  stuff,  yet  Christ  carries  it  very  sweetly 
and  lovingly  to  them,  and  tells  them  in  verse  28,  that  they  should  '  sit 
upon  twelve  thrones,  judging  the  twelve  tribes  of  Israel.'  Christ  tells 
them  they  shall  sit  as  ambassadors  or  chief  councillors  and  presidents, 
which  have  the  chief  seats  in  the  kingly  assembly,  yea,  they  shall  sit 
as  kings.  They  are  here  but  obscure  kings,  but  kings  elected ;  but  in 
that  day  they  shall  be  kings  crowned,  kings  glorified,  kings  acknow- 
ledged. Then  they  shall  as  far  outshine  the  glory  of  the  sun,  as  the 
sun  now  outshines  a  twinkling  star.  In  that  day  they  shall  be  *  higher 
than  the  kings  .of  the  earth/  Ps.  Ixxxix.  27.  So  in  Mat.  x.  42,  *  And  who- 
soever shall  give  to  drink  unto  one  of  these  little  ones,  a  cup  of  cold 
water  only,  in  the  name  of  a  disciple,  verily  I  say  unto  you,  he  shall  in 
no  wise  lose  his  reward,  for  a  cup  of  cold  water/  Water,  the  common 
element,  and  cold  water,  which  cost  them  not  so  much  as  fire  to  warm 
it ;  for  that,  there  is  a  torrent  and  a  very  sea  of  all  pleasures  provided 
for  thee  to  all  eternity.  God  esteems  men's  deeds  by  their  minds,  and 
not  their  minds  by  their  deeds.  The  least  and  cheapest  courtesy  that 
can  be  shewed  shall  be  rewarded.  There  is  an  emphasis  in  that  deep 
asseveration,  *  Verily  I  say  unto  you,  he  shall  in  no  wise  lose  his  reward.' 
Mercy  is  as  sure  a  grain  as  vanity.^  God  is  not  like  to  break,  neither 
will  he  forget  the  least  good  done  by  the  least  saint.  The  butler  may 
forget  Joseph,  and  Joseph  may  forget  his  father's  house,  but  the  Lord 
will  not  forget  the  least  good  done  by  the  weakest  saint.* 

The  Duke  of  Burgundy,  being  a  wise  and  loving  man,  did  bountifully 
reward  a  poor  gardener,  for  offering  of  him  a  rape-root,  being  the  best  pre- 

^  CJ^yri.    From  hagnan,  green. 

2  A  dying  saint  once  cried  out,  '  He  is  come,  he  is  come!'  meaning  the  Lord,  with  a 
great  reward  for  a  little  work. 

3  So  in  all  the  editions.  Qu.  Mercy,  typified  by  'grain'  or  seed,  [Cf.  Ps.  xcvii.  11], 
yields  as  '  sure'  a  harvest  of  'good'  or  blessing,  as  does  '  vanity'  of  '  evil ?'— G. 

*  Agrippa,  having  suffered  imprisonment  for  wishing  Caius  [Caligula. — G.]  emperor, 
the  first  thing  Caius  did  when  he  came  to  the  empire  was  to  prefer  Agrippa  [grandson  of 
Herod. — G.]  to  a  kingdom.  He  gave  him  also  a  chain  of  gold  as  heavy  as  the  chain  of 
iron  that  was  upon  him  in  prison  [whither  he  had  been  sent  by  Tiberius. — G.].  And 
will  not  Christ  richly  reward  for  all  our  well-wishes  toward  him,  and  for  all  our  gracious 
actings  for  him  ?    Surely  he  will.    He  has  a  king's  heart,  as  well  as  a  king's  purse. 


68  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

sent  the  poor  man  bad ;  and  will  not  our  God,  whose  very  nature  is 
goodness,  kindness,  and  sweetness,  &c.,  do  much  more  ?  Surely  he  Avill 
reward  the  least  good  done  by  the  weakest  saint.  Therefore  be  not  dis- 
couraged, weak  Christians,  though  you  should  meet  with  hard  measure 
from  the  world,  though  they  should  reward  your  weak  services  with  re- 
proaches, &c.,  for  the  Lord  will  reward  you ;  he  *  will  not  despise  the 
day  of  small  things,'  Heb.  vi.  10.  What  though,  O  precious  soul,  thy 
language  be  clipped  and  broken  ?  what  though  thou  canst  but  chatter 
.  like  a  crane  ?  what  though  thou  canst  not  talk  so  fluently  and  eloquently 
for  Christ  as  others  ?  what  though  thy  hand  be  weak,  that  thou  canst 
not  do  so  much  for  Christ  as  others  ?  nor  do  so  well  for  Christ  as  others  ? 
yet  the  Lord,  seeing  thy  heart  sincere,  will  reward  thee.  Thou  shalt 
have  an  everlasting  rest  for  a  little  labour,  and  a  great  reward  for  a 
little  work. 

The  ninth  support  is  this  : 

Support  9.  That  as  your  graces  are  weaker  than  others,  so  your  temp- 
tations shall  be  fewer,  and  your  afflictions  lighter  than  others. 

God  in  much  wisdom  and  love  will  suit  your  burdens  to  your  backs, 
he  will  suit  all  your  temptations  and  afflictions  to  your  strength.  Your 
burdens  shall  not  be  great,  if  your  strength  be  but  little,  as  you  may 
see,  1  Cor.  x.  13,  '  There  hath  no  temptation  taken  you,  but  such  as  is 
common  to  man ;  but  God  is  faithful,  who  will  not  suffer  you  to  be 
tempted  above  that  you  are  able,  but  will  with  the  temptation  also  make 
a  way  to  escape,  that  ye  may  be  able  to  bear  it.'  The  Lord,  O  weak 
Christian!  will  suit  thy  burden  to  thy  back,  and  his  strokes  to  thy 
strength.  This  is  most  evident  in  Scripture,  that  the  strongest  in  grace 
have  always  been  most  tempted,  afflicted,  and  distressed.^ 

If  Abraham  excel  others  in  faith,  God  will  try  the  strength  of  Abra- 
ham's faith  to  the  uttermost,  and  put  him  to  that  that  he  never  put  man 
to  before,  Gen.  xx.  If  Moses  excel  all  others  in  meekness,  the  Lord  will 
try  the  strength  of  that  grace,  and  Moses  shall  have  to  do  with  as  proud 
and  as  murmuring  a  generation,  as  ever  man  had  to  do  with.  If  Job 
carry  the  day  from  all  others,  in  point  of  patience,  he  shall  be  exer- 
cised with  such  strange  and  unheard  of  afflictions,  as  shall  try  not  only 
the  truth,  but  also  the  strength  of  his  patience  to  the  uttermost.  If 
Paul  have  more  glorious  revelations  than  the  rest  of  the  apostles,  Paul 
shall  be  more  buffeted  and  exercised  with  temptations,  than  the  rest  of 
the  apostles.2 

And  thus  you  see  it  clear  by  all  these  instances,  that  the  best  and 
choicest  saints  have  always  met  with  the  worst  and  greatest  temptations 
and  afflictions.  So  when  the  disciples  were  in  the  lowest  form,  when  they 
were  weak  in  grace,  the  Lord  Jesus  exercises  them  but  with  light  afflic- 
tions ;  but  when  they  had  a  greater  measure  of  the  Spirit  poured  upon 
them,  then  their  troubles  were  increased  and  multiplied,  and  their  for- 
mer troubles,  in  comparison  of  the  latter,  were  but  as  scratches  of  pins 
to  stabs  at  the  heart,  Acts  ii.  1  to  21.  When  the  Spirit  of  the  Lord 
was  poured  out  upon  them,  then  they  were   afflicted,  opposed,  and 

1  When  Latimer  was  at  the  stake,  ready  to  be  burned,  he  breathed  out  those  sweet 
words,  Fidelis  est  Deus,  God  is  faithful,  &,c.~lFoxe]  Ads  et  Mon.  fol.  1579.  [By  Town- 
send,  as  before,  vii.  550,  et  alibi. — G.l 

2  Num.  xii.  3  ;  Exod.  xvi.  7,  8 ;  Num.  xiv.  27,  36,  and  xvi.  11  ;  E.xod.  xv.  24 ;  James 
V.  11 ;  read  the  1st,  6th,  and  7th  chapters  of  Job ;  2  Cor.  xii.  1-11. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  69 

persecuted  with  a  witness ;  when  they  had  a  greater  measure  of  the 
Spirit,  to  enable  them  to  bear  the  hatred,  frowns,  strokes,  and  blows 
of  the  enraged  world,  then  all  of  them  had  the  honour  to  suffer  a  violent 
death  for  Christ,  as  histories  do  evidence. 

That  is  a  very  remarkable  scripture,  Luke  xxiv.  49,  '  And  behold  I 
send  tlie  promise  of  my  Father  upon  you;  but  tarry  ye  in  the  city  of 
Jerusalem,  until  ye  be  endued  with  power  from  on  high.'  The  Lord 
Jesus  would  not  have  them  go  from  Jerusalem,  till  they  were  endued 
with  power  from  on  high.  By  '  the  promise  of  the  Father,'  is  meant 
the  gifts  and  graces  of  the  Spirit  that  is  promised  in  Isa.  xliv.  3  ;  Joel  ii. 
28  ;  John  xiv.  16,  and  xv.  26.  *  Tarry  ye  here,'  says  Christ,  '  at  Jeru- 
salem, till  ye  be  completely  armed  and  fitted  for  all  encounters,  till  ye 
be  endued  with  power;'  or,  as  the  Greek  carries  it,  'till  ye  be  clothed,' 
hdvffrjffdi.  They  were  as  naked  persons ;  they  had  but  a  little  of  the 
Spirit,  so  that  they  were  not  complete  ;  they  were  not  clothed  with  the 
Spirit,  till  after  the  ascension  of  Christ.  Now  saith  Christ, '  Tarry  until 
such  time  as  ye  are  clothed  with  the  Spirit.*  The  Lord  Jesus  knew  well 
enough  that  they  should  meet  with  bitter  opposition,  terrible  afflictions, 
and  dreadful  persecution  for  his  and  the  gospel's  sake ;  therefore  '  Tarry,' 
said  he,  '  until  ye  be  clothed  with  the  Holy  Ghost,'  that  so  nothing  may 
daunt  ye,  nor  sink  ye. 

The  tenth  support  is  this  : 

Support  10.  That  your  persons  stand  not  before  God  in  your  own 
righteousness,  but  in  the  perfect,  spotless,  and  matchless  righteousness 
of  the  Lord  Jesus. 

Weak  hearts  are  apt  to  sit  down  troubled  and  discouraged,  when  they 
look  upon  that  body  of  sin  that  is  in  them,  and  those  imperfections  that 
attend  their  chiefest  services ;  they  are  ready  to  say.  We  shall  one  day 
perish  by  the  strength  of  our  lusts,  or  by  the  defects  of  our  services. 
Oh  but  weak  souls  should  remember  this,  to  strengthen  them  against 
all  discouragements,  that  their  persons  stand  before  God,  clothed  with 
tlie  righteousness  of  their  Saviour,  and  so  God  owns  them  and  looks 
upon  them  as  persons  wrapped  up  in  his  royal  robe.  Hence  it  is  that 
he  is  called,  Jer.  xxiii.  6,  '  Jehovah  tsidkenu,  the  Lord  our  righteous- 
ness.' And  so  in  I  Cor.  i.  30,  *  He  is  of  God  made  unto  us  wisdom, 
righteousness,  sanctification,  and  redemption.'^ 

Though  weak  saints  have  nothing  of  their  own,  yet  in  Christ  they 
have  all,  for  in  him  is  all  fulness,  Col.  i,  19,  both  repletive  and  diffusive; 
both  of  abundance  and  of  redundance  ;  both  of  plenty  and  of  bounty. 
He  is  made  to  weak  saints  wisdom,  by  his  prophetical  office ;  and  he  is 
made  to  weak  saints  righteousness  and  sanctification,  by  his  priestly 
office ;  and  he  is  made  to  weak  saints  redemption,  by  his  kingly  office. 
So  in  Col.  ii.  ]  0,  '  And  ye  are  complete  in  him,  which  is  the  head  of  all 
principality  and  power." 

Varro  reports  of  two  hundred  and  eighty-eight  several  opinions  that 
were  among  the  philosophers,  about  the  complete  happiness  of  man; 
but  they  were  out  in  them  all,  one  judging  his  happiness  lay  in  this 
and  another  in  that.     They  caught  at  the  shadow  of  happiness,  but 

^  The  costly  cloak  of  Alciatbeues,  which,  Dionysius  sold  to  the  Carthaginians  for  an 
hundred  talents,  was  a  mean  and  beggarly  rag  to  that  embroidered  mantle  that  Clirist 
does  put  upon  the  weakest  saints. 


70  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8, 

could  not  come  at  the  tree  of  life,  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  who  is  weak 
saints'  complete  happiness.  Rev.  xiv.  5,  'And  in  their  mouths  was 
found  no  guile,  for  they  were  without  fault  before  the  throne  of  God.' 
Though  men  may  accuse  you,  judge  and  condemn  you,  yet  know  for 
your  support,  that  you  are  acquitted  before  the  throne  of  God.  How- 
ever you  may  stand  in  the  eyes  of  men,  as  full  of  nothing  but  faults, 
persons  made  up  of  nothing  but  sin,  yet  are  you  clear  in  the  eyes  of  God. 
So  in  Cant.  iv.  7,  '  Thou  art  all  fair,  my  love,  and  there  is  no  spot  in 
thee.'  There  is  none,  such  as  are  the  spots  of  wicked  men,  nor  no  spot 
in  mine  account.  God  looks  upon  weak  saints  in  the  Son  of  his  love, 
and  sees  them  all  lovely ;  they  are  as  the  tree  of  Paradise,  Gen.  iii.  6,  '  fair 
to  his  eye,  and  pleasant  to  his  taste.'  Or  as  Absalom,  in  whom  there 
was  no  blemish  from  head  to  foot.  Ah,  poor  souls  !  you  are  apt  to  look 
upon  your  spots  and  blots,  and  to  cry  out  with  the  leper  not  only 
*  Unclean,  unclean  !'  but  *  Undone,  undone  !'  Well,  for  ever  remember 
this,  that  your  persons  stand  before  God  in  the  righteousness  of  Christ ; 
upon  which  account  you  always  appear,  before  the  throne  of  God,  with- 
out fault ;  you  are  all  fair,  and  there  is  no  spot  in  you. 

The  eleventh  support  is  this  : 

Support  11.  Your  sins  shall  never  provoke  Christ,  nor  prevail  ivith 
ChHst  so  far,  as  to  give  you  a  hill  of  divorce} 

Oh  there  is  much  in  it,  if  the  Lord  would  set  it  home  upon  your 
hearts.  Your  sins  shall  never  prevail  so  far  with  Christ,  nor  never  so 
far  provoke  him,  as  to  work  him  to  give  you  a  bill  of  divorce.  Your 
sins  may  provoke  Christ  to  frown  upon  you,  they  may  provoke  Christ 
to  chide  with  you,  they  may  provoke  him  greatly  to  correct  you,  but 
they  shall  never  provoke  Christ  to  give  you  a  bill  of  divorce :  Ps.  Ixxxix. 
30-34,  '  If  his  children  forsake  my  law,  and  walk  not  in  my  judgments  ; 
if  they  break  my  statutes,  and  keep  not  my  commandments  ;  then  will 
I  visit  their  transgressions  with  the  rod,  and  their  iniquity  with  stripes. 
Nevertheless  my  loving-kindness  will  I  not  utterly  take  from  him,  nor 
suffer  my  faithfulness  to  fail.'  That  is  a  great  support  to  a  weak  saint, 
that  his  sin  shall  never  separate  him  from  God  nor  Christ.  Thou  art 
many  times  afraid  that  this  deadness,  this  dulness,  this  earthliness,  and 
these  wandering  thoughts,  &c.,  that  do  attend  thee,  will  provoke  the 
Lord  Jesus  to  sue  a  bill  of  divorce  against  thee.  But  remember  this, 
thy  sins  shall  never  so  far  prevail  with  Christ,  as  to  work  him  to  give 
thee  a  bill  of  divorce.     Mark, 

There  is  nothing  can  provoke  Christ  to  give  thee  a  bill  of  divorce 
but  sin  : 

Now  sin  is  slain  ;  ergo, 

I  shall  open  this  to  you  in  three  things : 

[1.]  First,  Sin  is  slain  judicially ;  for  it  is  condemned  both  by 
Christ  and  his  people,  and  so  it  is  dead  according  to  law ;  which  is  and 
may  be  a  singular  comfort  and  support  to  weak  saints,  that  their  greatest 
and  worst  enemy,  sin,  is  condemned  to  die,  and  shall  not  for  ever  vex 
and  torment  their  precious  souls.     It  is  dead  judicially,  it  is  under  the 

'  Read  Jer.  iii.  Out  of  the  most  poisonful  drugs  God  distils  his  glory  and  our  salva- 
tion. Galen  speaks  of  a  maid,  called  Nupella,  that  was  nourished  by  poison.  God  can 
and  will  turn  the  very  sins  of  his  people,  which  are  the  worst  poison  in  all  the  world, 
into  his  children's  advantage. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  KICHES  OF  CHRIST.  71 

sentence  of  condemnation :  ]  Cor.  xv.  55,  56,  *  0  death,  where  is  thy 
sting  ?  O  grave,  where  is  thy  victory  ?  The  sting  of  death  is  sin,'  &c.^ 
The  apostle  here  triumphs  over  it  as  a  thief  condemned  to  death.  Sin 
is  sentenced  now ;  though  not  fully  put  to  death,  it  is  dead  judicially. 
As  when  the  sentence  of  death  is  passed  upon  a  malefactor,  you  say  he 
is  a  dead  man  ;  why  ?  he  is  judicially  dead  ;  so  is  sin,  sin  is  judicially 
dead.  When  a  man  that  hath  robbed  and  wounded  another  is  taken, 
and  sentenced  judicially,  we  say  he  is  a  dead  man  ;  and  it  is  often  a 
great  refreshing  and  satisfaction  to  a  man  that  he  is  so.  Sin,  O  weak 
soul !  is  sentenced  and  judicially  slain  ;  and  therefore  that  can  never 
work  the  Lord  Jesus  to  give  thee  a  bill  of  divorce.  The  thoughts  of 
which  should  much  refresh  thee  and  support  thee. 

[2.]  Secondly,  Sin  is  dead  or  slain  civilly,  as  well  as  judicially.  It 
is  civilly  dead,  because  the  power  of  it  is  much  abated,  and  its  dominion 
and  tyranny  overpowered.  As  when  a  king  or  tyrant  is  whipped  and 
stripped  of  all  power  to  domineer,  reign,  and  play  the  tyrant,  he  is  civilly 
dead,  even  while  he  lives  ;  so  is  sin  in  this  sense  dead  even  while  it 
lives,  Rom.  vi.  14.  That  text  is  suitable  to  our  purpose  :  Hosea  xiii.  1, 
*  When  Ephraim  spake  trembling,  he  exalted  himself  in  Israel ;  but 
when  he  offended  in  Baal,  he  died.'^ 

What  is  the  meaning  of  these  words  ?  The  meaning  is  this  :  W^hen 
the  king  of  Ephraim  spake,  the  people  even  trembled  at  his  voice,  such 
power  once  he  had  ;  but  when  he  offended  in  Baal,  by  serving  Baal,  by 
giving  himself  up  to  idolatry,  he  died  in  respect  of  obedience  not  yielded 
to  him  as  formerly.  Time  was  that  he  was  terrible,  but  when  he  fell 
to  idolatry,  his  strength  and  glory  came  down,  so  that  now  he  became 
even  like  a  dead  carcase. 

Adam  died  civilly  the  same  day  that  he  sinned.  The  creatures  that 
before  lovingly  obeyed  him,  as  soon  as  he  renounced  obedience  to  his 
God,  they  renounced  all  obedience  to  him  or  his  sovereignty,  so  that  he 
civilly  died  the  very  same  day  that  he  sinned. 

That  is  a  sweet  word  that  you  have,  Rom.  vi.  11,  'Likewise  reckon 
ye  also  yourselves  to  be  dead  indeed  unto  sin.'  Therefore  Christ  will 
never  divorce  you  for  sin.  Oh  what  a  support  may  this  be  to  a  weak 
saint,  that  sin,  that  he  fears  above  all  other  things  in  the  world,  is  slain 
judicially  and  civilly.  The  Lord  hath  whipped  and  stripped  it  of  all  its 
ruling,  reigning,  domineering,  tyrannizing  power.  Oh,  therefore,  Chris- 
tians, look  upon  sin  as  dead,  that  is,  as  not  to  be  obeyed,  as  not  to  be 
acknowledged,  no  more  than  a  tyrant  that  is  stripped  of  all  his  tyran- 
nizing power.  People  that  are  wise,  and  understand  their  liberty,  look 
not  upon  such  a  one  as  fit  to  be  obeyed  and  served,  but  as  one  fit  to  be 
renounced  and  destroyed.  Do  you  so  look  upon  your  sins,  and  deal 
accordingly  with  them.^ 

[3.]  Thirdly,  Sin  is  slain  naturally,  as  well  as  civilly.  Christ  hath 
given  it  its  death's  wound  by  his  death  and  resurrection.  He  hath  given 
sin  such  a  wound,  that  it  cannot  be  long-lived,  though  it  may  linger 

*   Vide  Grotius  and  Vorstius  on  the  words. 

2  It  is  with  sin  in  the  saints  as  it  was  with  those  beasts,  Dan.  vii.  12,  who  had  their 
dominions  taken  away,  though  their  lives  were  prolonged  for  a  season  and  a  time. 

^  Where  sin  sits  in  the  soul,  as  a  king  sits  upon  his  throne,  and  commands  the  heart, 
as  a  king  commands  his  subjects,  there  is  reign  of  sin  ;  but  grace  frees  the  soul  from  this. 


72  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

awhile  in  a  saint.  As  a  tree  that  is  cut  at  the  root  with  a  sore  gash  or 
two,  must  die  within  a  year,  perhaps  a  month,  nay,  it  may  be  within  a 
week ;  though  for  a  time  it  may  flourish,  it  may  have  leaves  and  fruit, 
yet  it  secretly  dies,  and  will  very  shortly  wither  and  perish.  The  Lord 
Jesus  hath  given  sin  such  a  mortal  wound,  by  his  death  and  Spirit,  and 
by  the  communication  of  his  favour  and  grace  to  the  soul,  that  sin  shall 
never  recover  its  strength  more,  but  die  a  lingering  death  in  the  souls  of 
the  saints.  Christ  did  not  die  all  at  once  upon  the  cross,  but  by  little  and 
little  ;  to  shew  us,  that  his  death  should  extend  to  the  slaying  of  sin 
gradually  in  the  souls  of  the  saints.  When  our  enemy  hath  a  mortal 
wound,  we  say  he  is  a  dead  man,  his  wound  is  mortal ;  so  when  Jesus 
Christ  hath  given  sin  such  a  deadly  wound,  such  a  mortal  blow,  that  it 
shall  never  recover  its  strength  and  power  more,  we  may  truly  say,  it 
is  dead,  it  is  slain.  Therefore  cheer  up,  O  weak  souls,  for  certainly  sin 
that  is  thus  slain  can  never  provoke  Jesus  Christ  to  give  you  a  bill  of 
divorce.  Ah  !  that  all  weak  Christians  would,  like  the  bee,  abide  upon 
these  sweet  flowers,  and  gather  honey  out  of  them,  &c. 

To  proceed. 

The  twelfth  support  is  this  : 

Support  12.  Christ  and  you  are  sharers. 

Know  this,  weak  saints,  for  your  support  and  comfort, 

1.  That  Christ  shares  with  you,  and  you  share  with  Christ. 

I  shall  open  this  sweet  truth  to  you  a  little. 

[1.]  Christ  shares  with  you  in  your  natures. 

In  Heb.  ii.  16,  '  For  verily  he  took  not  on  him  the  nature  of  angels, 
but  he  took  on  him  the  seed  of  Abraham.^  And  by  this  he  hath  ad- 
vanced fallen  man  above  the  very  angels.  This  is  the  great  mystery 
spoken  of,  1  Tim.  iii.  16,  '  And  without  controversy  great  is  the  mystery 
of  godliness,  God  manifested  in  the  flesh,"  &c. 

[2.]  The  Lord  Jesus  shares  ivith  you  in  your  afflictions. 

In  Isa.  Ixiii.  9,  '  In  all  their  afilictions  he  was  afilicted,  and  the  angel 
of  his  presence  saved  them  :  in  his  love  and  in  his  pity  he  redeemed 
them  ;  and  he  bare  them,  and  carried  them  all  the  days  of  old.'  It  is 
between  Christ  and  his  church  as  between  two  lute  strings,  no  sooner 
one  is  struck  but  the  other  trembles.^ 

[3.]  He  shares  with  you  in  all  sufferings  and  persecutions,  as  well 
as  in  all  your  afflictions. 

Acts  ix.  4,  5,  '  Saul,  Saul,  why  persecutest  thou  me  f  There  is  such 
a  near  union  between  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ  and  the  weakest  saints, 
that  a  man  cannot  strike  a  saint  but  he  must  strike  through  the  very 
heart  of  Christ.  Their  sufferings  are  held  his,  Col.  i.  24  ;  and  their 
afflictions  are  his  afilictions,  and  their  reproaches  are  his  reproaches, 

^  The  notion  of  iTiXecf^(icinTett  is  best  expressed  by  Chrysostom  in  these  words  :  '  When 
mankind  fled  far  from  Christ,  Christ  pursued  and  caught  hold  of  it ;  and  this  he  did  by 
fastening  on  our  nature  in  his  incarnation,'  &c. 

'  The_ ancients  use  to  say  commonly,  that  Alexander  and  Hephastion  had  but  one  soul 
in  two  distinct  bodies,  because  their  joy  and  sorrow,  glory  and  disgrace,  was  mutual  to 
them  both.  [Cf.  Sibbes,  vol.  i,  p.  194,  note  b.—G.I  It  is  so  between  Christ  and  his 
saints.  Their  names,  that  are  written  in  red  letters  of  blood  in  the  church's  calendar,  are 
written  in  golden  letters  in  Christ's  register  in  the  book  of  life,  said  Prudentius.  In  my 
lifetime,  said  a  gracious  soul,  I  have  been  assaulted  with  temptations  from  Satan,  and  he 
hath  cast  my  sins  into  my  teeth  to  drive  me  to  despair  ;  yet  the  Lord  gave  me  strength 
to  overcome  all  his  temptations. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  73 

Heb.  xiii.  13 ;  and  their  provocations  are  his  provocations,  Neh.  iv. 
4,  5  ;  God  is  provoked  more  than  Nehemiah.  So  Isa.  viii.  18,  compared 
with  Heb.  ii.  3  3.  '  Behold  I,  and  the  children  whom  the  Lord  hath 
given  me,  are  for  signs  and  wonders  in  Israel.'  This  the  apostle  applies 
to  Christ,  Heb.  ii.  13. 

[4.]  The  Lord  Jesus  Christ  shares  with  you  in  all  your  tempta- 
tations,  Heb.  ii.  17, 18,  and  iv.  15,  16. 

Christ  was  tempted,  and  he  was  afflicted  as  well  as  you,  that  he 
might  be  able  so  succour  you  that  are  tempted.  As  a  poor  man  that 
hath  been  troubled  with  pain  and  grief,  he  will  share  with  others  that 
are  troubled  with  pain  or  grief.  Ah,  friends !  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ 
hath  lost  none  of  his  affections  by  going  to  heaven ;  he  is  still  full  of 
compassion,  though  free  from  personal  passion.  When  he  was  on  earth, 
oh  !  how  did  he  sympathize  with  his  poor  servants  in  all  their  tempta- 
tions. *  Satan,'  says  Christ  to  Peter,  '  hath  desired  to  winnow  thee,  but 
I  have  prayed  for  thee  that  thy  faith  fail  not,'  Luke  xxii.  32.  Luther, 
in  his  preaching,  met  with  every  man's  temptation,  and  being  once 
asked  how  he  could  do  so  ?  answered,  Mine  own  manifold  temptations 
and  experiences  are  the  cause  thereof  Oh  1  the  manifold  temptations 
that  the  Lord  Jesus  hath  undergone,  makes  him  sensible,  as  I  may  say, 
and  willing  to  share  with  us  in  our  temptations. 

Secondly,  As  Christ  shares  with  weak  saints,  so  weak  saints  share 
with  Christ.     And  this  I  shall  shew  you  briefly  in  a  few  particulars. 

[1.]  Weak  saints  share  with  Christ  in  his  divine  nature.  2  Peter 
i.  4,  *  Whereby  are  given  to  us  exceeding  great  and  precious  pro- 
mises ;  that  by  these  we  might  be  partakers  of  the  divine  nature.'  Not 
of  the  substance  of  the  Godhead,  as  the  Familists  say,  for  that  is  incom- 
municable ;  but  by  the  divine  nature  we  are  to  understand  those  divine 
qualities,  called  elsewhere,  *  the  image  of  God,'  *  the  life  of  God,'  that 
whereby  we  are  made  like  to  God  in  wisdom  and  holiness,  wherein  the 
image  of  God,  after  which  man  was  at  first  created,  consists,  Eph.  iv.  24, 
Col.  iii.  10.^  Saints  that  do  partake  of  this  divine  nature,  that  is,  of 
those  divine  qualities  before  spoken  of,  they  resemble  God,  not  only  as 
a  picture  doth  a  man,  in  outward  lineaments,  but  as  a  child  doth  his 
father,  in  countenance  and  condition.  And  well  may  grace  be  called 
'  the  divine  nature,'  for  as  God  brino^eth  light  out  of  darkness,  comfort 
out  of  sorrow,  riches  out  of  poverty,  and  glory  out  of  shame,  so  does 
grace  bring  day  out  of  night,  and  sweet  out  of  bitter,  and  plenty  out  of 
poverty,  and  glory  out  of  shame.  It  turns  counters  into  gold,  pebbles 
into  pearls,  sickness  into  health,  weakness  into  strength,  and  wants  into 
abundance.  *  Enjoying  nothing,  and  yet  possessing  all  things,'  2  Cor. 
vi.  10,  &c. 

[2.]  Weak  saints  share  with  Christ  in  his  Spirit  and  grace. 

In  Ps.  xlv.  7,  Christ  is  'anointed  with  the  oil  of  gladness  above  his 
fellows.'  They  have  the  anointings  of  the  Spirit,  as  well  as  he,  though 
not  so  richly  as  he.  They  have  their  measure,  though  not  that  measure 
and  proportion  of  the  Spirit  as  the  Lord  Jesus  hath.  So  in  John  i.  J  6, 
'  Of  his  fulness  have  all  we  received,  grace  for  grace.'  There  is  in 
Christ  not  only  a  fulness  of  abundance,  but  also  a  fulness  of  redundance. 

'  To  be  made  partakers  of  the  divine  nature  notes  two  things  :  (1.)  fellowship  with 
God  in  his  holiness  ;  (2.)  a  fellowship  with  God  in  his  blessedness. 


V4  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

There  is  an  overflowing  fulness  in  Christ,  as  a  fountain  overflows,  and 
yet  still  remains  full.  '  Grace  for  grace,'  or,  *  grace  upon  grace.' 
Abundance  of  grace,  and  the  increases  of  graces,  one  by  another.^ 

'  Grace  for  grace,'  that  is,  as  a  child  in  generation  receives  member 
for  member ;  or  as  the  paper  from  the  press  receives  letter  for  letter ; 
or  as  the  wax  from  the  seal  receives  print  for  print ;  or  as  the  glass 
from  the  image  receives  face  for  face,  so  does  the  weakest  saint  receive 
from  Jesus  Christ. 

*  Grace  for  grace,'  that  is,  for  every  grace  that  is  in  Christ,  there  is 
the  same  grace  in  us,  in  some  measure.  There  is  not  the  weakest  saint 
that  breathes,  but  has  in  him  some  wisdom  tliat  answers  to  the  wisdom 
of  Christ,  and  some  love  that  answers  to  the  love  of  Christ,  and  some 
humility,  meekness,  and  faith,  that  answers  to  the  humility,  meekness, 
and  faith  of  the  Lord  Jesus,  in  truth  and  reality,  though  not  in  degree 
or  quantity,  &c. 

[3.]  Weak  saints  share  wdth  Christ,  in  the  manifestations  and  dis- 
coveries of  his  Father. 

The  Lord  Jesus,  that  lies  in  the  bosom  of  the  Father,  hath  the  clearest 
and  the  fullest  manifestations  of  the  Father  that  can  be,  and  he  comes 
and  opens  the  love  and  heart  of  the  Father,  he  unbosoms  and  unbowels 
God  to  the  weakest  saints,  as  in  John  xv.  15,  *  Henceforth  I  call  you  not 
servants  ;  for  the  servant  knoweth  not  what  his  Lord  doth  :  but  I  have 
called  you  friends  ;  for  all  things  that  I  have  heard  of  my  Father  I  have 
made  known  unto  you.'     So  in  John  xvii.  6-8.^ 

[4.]  Weak  saints  share  with  Christ  in  his  honourable  titles. 
in  the  title  of  sons,  1  John  iii.  1,  *  Behold  what  manner  of  love  the 
Father  hath  bestowed  upon  us,  that  we  should  be  called  the  sons  of 
God  ! '  And  in  that  of  heirs,  Kom.  viii.  17.  Yea,  they  are  priests,  and 
prophets,  and  kings,  as  well  as  he,  as  you  may  see  by  comparing  Rev. 
i.  5,  6,  with  1  Peter  ii.  9,  &c.' 

[5.]  Weak  saints  share  with  Christ  in  his  conquests. 
In  1  Cor.  XV.  55-57,  Rom.  viii.  37,  Christ  hath  triumphed  over  sword, 
famine,  death,  and  devils,  &c.,  and  so  have  they  through  him  also. 
Over  all  these  we  are  more  than  conquerors,  we  are  over  and  above 
conquerors.  Oh  what  a  blessed  thing  is  this  !  that  weak  saints  should 
share  with  Christ  in  his  conquests.  The  poor  weak  soldier  shares  with 
his  general  in  all  his  noble  and  honourable  conquests ;  so  does  a  poor 
weak  Christian  share  with  his  Christ  in  all  his  noble  and  honourable 
conquests.* 

[().]  Lastly,  They  share  with  Christ  in  his  honour  and  glory. 

And  what  would  they  have  more  ?    John  xii.  26,  '  If  any  man  serve 

me,  let  him  follow  me  ;  and  where  I  am,  there  shall  also  my  servant  be : 

if  any  man  serve  me,  him  will  my  Father  honour.'     1  Peter  v.  1,  Eph. 

ii.  6,  '  And  hath  raised  us  up  together,  and  made  us  sit  together  in 

^  Omne  honum  in  summo  bono,  all  good  is  in  the  cliiefest  good. 

2  Plutarch's  reasoning  ia  good :  to.  tuv  <p,xZv  TdvTx  xoiva,  friends  have  all  things  in  com- 
mon ;  but  God  is  our  friend.  Ergo,  .  .  .  This  was  a  rare  speech  from  a  heathen. 
[_Moralia,  sub  voce. — G.] 

*  The  wife  shares  with  her  husband  in  all  his  titles  of  honour ;  so  does  a  Christian 
with  his  Christ. 

4  See  1  Sam.  xviii.  17-29  ;  Col.  ii.  14,  15  ;  Eph.  ii.  13-16  ;  Heb.  ii.  14,  16  ;  Rom.  viii. 
37.     uvri^vtKuftiy,  we  do  overcome- 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  75 

heavenly  places  in  Christ  Jesus.'  Believers  are  already  risen  in  Christ 
their  head,  and  they  do  at  this  instant  sit  in  heavenly  places  in  Christ 
Jesus.  Christ,  as  a  public  person,  doth  represent  all  believing  souls, 
and  they  are  set  down  in  heavenly  places  in  Christ  Jesus.  In  Rom. 
viii.  17,  *  If  we  suffer  with  him,  we  shall  also  reign  with  him.'  And  in 
John  xiv.  2,  3,  'I  go  to  prepare  a  place  for  you.  And  if  I  go  and  pre- 
pare a  place  for  you,  I  will  come  again,  and  receive  you  unto  myself ; 
that  where  I  am,  there  ye  may  be  also.'  So  in  Rev.  iii.  21,  'To  him 
that  overcometh  will  I  grant  to  sit  with  me  in  my  throne,  even  as  I 
overcame,  and  am  set  down  with  my  Father  in  his  throne.'  ^  Now,  what 
would  you  have  more,  weak  souls  ?  Christ  shares  with  you,  and  you 
share  with  Christ.  You  are  apt  to  be  discouraged  because  you  do  not 
share  with  Christ  in  such  measures  of  grace,  comfort,  and  holiness,  as 
such  and  such  strong  saints  do.  Oh !  but  remember  in  how  many 
weighty  things  Christ  and  you  are  sharers  ;  and  be  dejected  if  you  can ! 
Ah,  Christians  !  what  though  you  do  not  share  in  the  honours,  profits, 
pleasures,  and  advantages  of  the  world  ;  yet  this  should  be  your  joy  and 
crown,  that  Christ  and  your  souls  are  sharers  in  those  things  that  are 
most  eminent  and  excellent,  most  precious  and  glorious ;  and  the 
serious  remembrance  hereof  should  bear  up  your  heads,  hopes,  and 
hearts,  above  all  the  troubles,  temptations,  and  afflictions  that  come 
upon  you  in  this  world,  &c. 

III.  The  third  thing  propounded,  was  to  shew  you  the  duty  of  weak 
saints.  Who  these  weak  saints  are,  you  have  beard  ;  and  what  their 
supports  and  comforts  are,  you  have  heard ;  and  now  I  shall  shew  you 
their  duty  in  the  following  particulars. 

And  t\\Q  first  duty  that  I  shall  press  upon  weak  saints  is  this  : 

1.  To  he  thankful  for  that  little  grace  they  have? 

Wilt  thou  be  thankful,  O  Christian,  for  the  least  courtesy  shewed 
thee  by  men  ?  And  wilt  thou  not  be  thankful  for  that  little  measure 
of  grace  that  is  bestowed  upon  thee  by  God  ?  Dost  thou  remember, 
O  weak  Christian  !  that  the  least  measure  of  grace  is  more  worth  than 
a  thousand  worlds?  that  it  is  more  worth  than  heaven  itself?  Dost 
thou  remember,  0  weak  Christian  !  that  the  greatest  number  of  men 
have  not  the  least  measure  or  dram  of  saving  grace  ?  Doth  free  grace 
knock  at  thy  door,  when  it  passes  by  the  doors  of  thousands  ?  And 
doth  it  cast  a  pearl  of  price  into  thy  bosom,  when  others  are  left 
to  wallow  in  their  blood  for  ever  ?  And  wilt  thou  not  be  thankful  ? 
Oh  do  but  consider,  weak  souls,  how  notoriously  wicked  you  would  have 
been  if  the  Lord  had  not  bestowed  a  little  grace  upon  you !  Thou 
lookest,  O  soul,  one  way,  and  there  thou  hearest  some  a-cursing,  ban- 
ning, and  a-blaspheming  God  to  his  very  face.  Had  not  the  Lord  given 
thee  a  little  grace,  ten  thousand  to  one  but  thou  hadst  been  one  in 
wickedness  among  these  monsters  of  mankind.  And  thou  lookest  an- 
other way,  and  there  thou  seest  persons  dicing,  carding,  drabbing,  and 
drunkenning,  &c. ;  why,  had  not  the  Lord  vouchsafed  to  thee  some 
tastes  and  sips  of  grace,  thou  mightst  have  been  as  vile  as  the  vilest 
among  them.     Ah,  weak  saints !  you  do  not  think  what  an  awakened 

*  Christ  is  the  believer's  harbinger,  to  prepare  for  them  the  best  mansions,  &c. 
2  The  laws  of  Persia,  Macedonia,  and  Athens,  condemned  the  ungrateful  to  death ;  and 
certainly  unthankfulness  may  well  be  styled  the  epitome  of  all  vices. 


76  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

conscience  would  give  for  a  little  of  that  little  grace  that  the  Lord  has 
given  you.  Were  all  the  world  a  lump  of  gold,  and  in  their  hand  to 
give,  they  would  give  it  for  the  least  spark  of  grace,  for  the  least  drop 
of  mercy, 

1  have  read  of  a  man  who,  being  in  a  burning  fever,  professed  that  if 
he  had  all  the  world  at  his  dispose,  he  would  give  it  all  for  one  draught 
of  beer.  So  would  an  awakened  conscience  for  one  dram  of  grace.  Oh ! 
saith  such  a  soul,  when  I  look  up  and  see  God  frowning,  when  I  look 
inward  and  feel  conscience  gnawing  and  accusing,  when  I  look  down- 
ward and  see  hell  open  to  receive  me,  and  when  I  look  on  my  right  and 
left  hand,  and  see  devils  standing  ready  to  accuse  me,  oh  !  had  I  a 
thousand  worlds  I  would  give  them  all  for  a  little  drop  of  that  grace 
that  such  and  such  souls  have,  whom  I  have  formerly  slighted  and  de- 
spised. Oh  !  what  would  not  a  damned  soul,  that  hath  been  but  an 
hour  in  hell,  give  for  a  drop  of  that  grace  that  thou  hast  in  thy  heart ! 
Think  seriously  of  this  and  be  thankful^ 

Well !  remember  one  thing  more,  and  that  is  this,  viz.,  that  there  is 
no  such  way  to  get  much  grace,  as  to  be  thankful  for  a  little  grace.  He 
who  opens  his  mouth  wide  in  praises,  shall  have  his  heart  filled  with 
graces.  Ingratitude  stops  the  ear  of  God,  and  shuts  the  hand  of  God, 
and  turns  away  the  heart  of  the  God  of  grace,  and  therefore  you  had 
need  be  thankful  for  a  little  grace.  Unthankfulness  is  the  greatest  in- 
justice that  may  be  ;  it  is  a  withholding  from  the  great  landlord  of 
heaven  and  earth  his  due,  his  debt. 

Philip  branded  his  soldier  that  begged  the  land  of  one  that  had 
relieved  him,  and  kindly  entertained  him,  with  ingratus  hospes,  the  un- 
grateful guest. **  O  weak  saints  !  give  not  God  an  occasion  by  your 
ingratitude  to  brand  you,  and  to  write  upon  your  foreheads,  ungrateful 
children.  Had  it  not  been  for  imthankfulness,  Adam  had  been  in  para- 
dise, the  lapsed  angels  in  heaven,  and  the  Jews  in  their  own  land  of 
promise.  The  Jews  have  a  saying,  that  the  world  stands  upon  three 
things,  the  law,  holy  worship,  and  retribution,  and  if  these  things  fall 
the  world  will  fall.     You  know  how  to  apply  it,  Isa.  i.  3,  4. 

But  [that]  I  may  in  good  earnest  stir  up  your  souls  to  thankfulness, 
will  you  take  home  with  you  these  things,  that  haply  have  never  or 
seldom  been  thought  of  by  you  ? 

[1.]  First,  Consider,  that  there  is  more  need  of  praises  than  there  is 
of  prayers. 

Two  things  do  with  open  mouth  proclaim  this  truth. 

And  the  first  is  this,  our  mercies  do  out-weigh  our  wants.  This  is 
true  in  temporals,  but  infinitely  more  in  spirituals  and  eternals.  Thou 
wantest  this  and  that  outward  mercy,  and  what  is  thy  want,  O  soul !  of 
this  and  that  single  mercy,  to  the  multitudes  of  mercies  that  thou  dost 
enjoy  ?  And  as  for  spirituals,  there  is  nothing  more  clear  than  this,> 
that  thy  spiritual  mercies  do  infinitely  out-weigh  thy  spiritual  wants. 
Thou  wantest  this  and  that  spiritual  mercy,  but  what  are  those  wants 

'  One  of  the  kings  of  England  in  his  straits  cried  out,  '  A  kingdom  for  a  horse !  a 
kingdom  for  a  horse  !'  [Richard  III.,  as  before. — G.]  So  do  awakened  consciences  cry- 
out,  A  kingdom  for  a  Christ !  a  kingdom  for  a  Christ,  or  a  little  grace ! 

2  Lycurgus,  saith  Musculus,  amongst  all  his  laws,  made  none  against  the  ungrateful ; 
because  that  was  thought  a  thing  so  prodigious,  as  not  to  be  committed  by  man. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  77 

to  that  God,  that  Christ,  and  all  those  spiritual  blessings  in  heavenly 
places,  with  which  thou  art  blest  in  Christ  Jesus,'  Eph.  i.  4. 

Secondly,  Consider  this.  That  all  your  wants  and  raiseries  are  de- 
served and  ^procured  by  your  sins.  Jer.  iv.  18,  *  Thy  way  and  thy 
doings  have  procured  these  things  unto  thee  :  this  is  thy  wickedness, 
because  it  is  bitter,  because  it  reacheth  unto  thy  heart.'  And  chap.  1. 
25,  *  Your  iniquities  have  turned  away  these  things,  and  your  sins  have 
withholden  good  things  from  you.'  But  now  all  your  mercies  are  un- 
merited and  undeserved  ;  they  all  flow  in  upon  you  from  the  free  love 
and  favour  of  God  ;  and  therefore  there  is  more  need  of  praises  than  of 
prayers.  And  oh  !  that  the  high  praises  of  God  were  more  in  your 
mouths,  upon  this  very  account !  And  oh  that,  with  David,  you  would 
summon  all  the  faculties  of  your  souls  to  praise  the  Lord,  who  hath 
filled  you,  and  followed  you  with  the  riches  of  mercy  all  your  days,^  Ps. 
cxlix.  2,  and  ciii.  1-5.     But, 

[2.]  Secondly,  Consider  this,  Thankfulness  is  a  surer  and  a  better 
evidence  of  our  S'incerity,  and  spiritual  ingenuity,  than  praying  or 
hearing,  or  such  like  services^  are. 

Thanksgiving  is  a  self-denying  grace ;  it  is  an  uncrowning  ourselves 
and  the  creatures,  to  set  the  crown  upon  the  head  of  our  Creator  ;  it  is 
the  making  ourselves  a  footstool,  that  God  may  be  lifted  up  upon  his 
throne,  and  ride  in  a  holy  triumph  over  all ;  it  is  a  grace  that  gives 
God  the  supremacy  in  all  our  hearts,  thoughts,  desires,  words,  and  works. 
Self-love,  flesh  and  blood,  and  many  low  and  carnal  considerations,  may 
carry  men  to  pray,  and  hear,  and  talk,  &c.  The  whip  may  work  a  shame' 
to  beg,  but  thankfulness  is  the  free-will  offering  of  a  child.  There  is 
nothing  that  so  clearly  and  so  fully  speaks  out  your  sincerity  and 
spiritual  ingenuity,  as  thankfulness  doth.  Therefore,  weak  saints,  if 
you  would  have  a  substantial  evidence  of  your  sincerity  and  spiritual 
ingenuity,  be  thankful  for  a  little  grace.  The  little  birds  do  not  sip 
one  drop  of  water,  but  they  look  up,  as  if  they  meant  to  give  thanks, 
to  shew  us  what  we  should  do  for  every  drop  of  grace,  &c.* 

The  third  and  last  consideration  to  set  this  home  is  this : 

[3.]  A  thankful  soul  holds  coiisort  with  the  music  of  heaven. 

By  thankfulness  thou  boldest  a  correspondency  with  the  angels,  who 
are  still  a-singing  hallelujahs  to  him  that  sits  upon  the  throne,  and  is 
blessed  for  ever.  Rev.  iv.  6-9,  and  v.  12-14.  In  heaven  there  is  no  prayers, 
but  all  praises.  I  am  apt  to  think,  that  there  cannot  be  a  clearer  nor  a 
greater  argument  of  a  man's  right  to  heaven,  and  ripeness  for  heaven,  than 
this,  being  much  in  the  work  of  heaven  here  on  earth.  There  is  no  grace 
but  love,  nor  no  duty  but  thankfulness,  that  goes  with  us  to  heaven.^ 

Ay,  but  weak  saints  may  say,  Sir!  we  judge  that  there  is  weight  in  what 
you  say,  to  provoke  us  to  thankfulness  ;  but  did  we  know  that  we  had 

^  God's  favours  and  mercies  seldom  or  never  come  single  ;  there  is  a  series  or  concate- 
nation of  them,  and  every  former  draws  on  a  future. 

2  God  and  Christ  are  the  sole  fountain  from  whence  all  these  streams  of  living  waters 
flow.  3  Qu,  I  slave '  ?— Ed. 

*  It  is  much  to  be  feared  that  that  man  is  Christless  and  graceless,  that  is  earnest  in 
craving  mercies,  but  slow  and  dull  in  returning  praises.  It  is  a  sign  that  the  dumb  devil 
hath  possessed  such  a  man. 

5  Epictetus  wished  he  were  a  nightingale,  to  be  ever  singing.  And  what  then  should 
a  saint  wish  ?  &c. 


78  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  Ill,  8. 

true  grace,  though  it  were  never  so  little,  though  it  were  but  as  the 
grain  of  mustard  seed,  we  would  be  thankful.  But  this  is  our  con- 
dition, we  live  between  fears  and  hopes  ;  one  day  hoping  we  shall  to 
heaven,  and  be  happy  for  ever,  another  day  we  are  fearing  that  we  shall  to 
hell,  and  miscarry  for  ever  ;  and  thus  we  are  up  and  down,  backward 
and  forward.  Sometimes  we  believe  we  have  grace,  and  at  other  times 
we  doubt  we  have  none  ;  sometimes  we  have  a  little  light,  and  suddenly 
our  sun  is  clouded  ;  one  day  we  are  ready  to  say  with  David,  *  The  Lord 
is  our  portion/  and  the  next  day  we  are  ready  to  complain  with  Jonah, 
that  we  are  '  cast  out'  from  the  presence  of  the  Lord. 

Methinks  I  hear  a  weak  saint  saying  thus  to  me,  Sir,  I  would  fain 
have  an  end  put  to  this  controversy  that  hath  been  so  long  in  my  soul, 
viz.,  whether  I  have  grace  or  no,  and  if  you  please,  I  will  tell  you  what  I 
find,  and  so  humbly  desire  your  judgment  and  opinion  upon  the  whole. 

Well,  speak  on,  poor  soul,  and  let  me  hear  what  thou  hast  found  in 
thine  own  soul. 

Why,  sir,  then  thus  : 

[1.]  I  find,  first,  a  holy  restlessness  in  my  soul,  till  with  old  Simeon 
I  have  gotten  Christ  in  my  arms,  yea,  till  I  have  gotten  Christ  in  my 
heart,  Luke  ii.  25-33.  I  go  from  duty  to  duty,  and  from  ordinance  to 
ordinance,  and  yet  I  cannot  rest,  because  *  I  cannot  find  him  whom  my 
soul  loves,'  Cant.  v.  10.  I  am  like  Noah's  dove,  that  could  not  rest 
until  he  had  gotten  into  the  ark.  Oh  I  cannot  be  quiet  till  I  know  that 
I  am  housed  in  Christ.  My  soul  is  like  a  ship  in  a  storm,  that  is  tossed 
hither  and  thither,  oh !  where  shall  I  find  him  ?  Oh !  how  shall  I 
obtain  him  who  is  the  chiefest  of  ten  thousand  ?  What  Absalom  said 
in  another  case,  I  can  say  in  this,  saith  the  poor  soul ;  in  his  banish- 
ment he  could  say,  'What  is  all  this  to  me,  so  long  as  I  cannot  see  the 
king's  face  ?'  And  truly  the  language  of  my  soul  is  this.  What  is  honour 
to  me  ?  and  riches  to  me  1  and  the  favour  of  creatures  to  me  ?  so  long 
as  I  go  mourning  without  my  Christ,  so  long  as  I  see  not  my  interest 
in  my  Christ.^ 

Well,  have  you  anything  else  to  say,  O  weak  Christian  ? 

Yes  sir,  I  have  one  thing  more  to  say. 

What  is  that  ? 

Why,  it  is  this. 

[2.]  I  can  truly  say,  that  the  poorest,  the  most  distressed  and  afflicted 
man  in  the  world,  is  not  fuller  of  desires,  nor  stronger  in  his  desires 
than  I  am.  The  poor  man  desires  bread  to  feed  him,  and  the  wounded 
man  desires  a  plaster  to  heal  him,  and  the  sick  man  desires  cordials  to 
strengthen  him,  &c.  But  these  are  not  fuller  of  desires  after  those 
things  that  are  suitable  to  them,  than  I  am  of  holy  and  heavenly  desires.^ 
Oh  that  I  had  more  of  God  !  oh  that  I  were  filled  with  Christ !  oh  that 
I  had  his  righteousness  to  cover  me,  his  grace  to  pardon  me,  his  power 
to  support  me,  his  wisdom  to  counsel  me,  his  loving-kindness  to  refresh 
me,  and  his  happiness  to  crown  me,  &c. 

Well,  is  this  all,  O  weak  saint  ? 

No,  sir,  I  have  one  thing  more  to  tell  you. 

What  is  that? 

*  The  child  is  restless  till  it  be  in  the  mother's  arms. 
2  Tola  vita  honi  Christiani  sanctum  desiderium  est. 


Eph.  III.  8.J  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.         .  79 

Why,  that  is  this : 

[3.]  Though  I  dare  not  say  that  Christ  is  mine,  yet  I  can  truly  say, 
that  Christ,  his  love,  his  luorks,  his  grace,  his  word,  are  the  main  objects 
of  my  contemjplation  and  meditation.  Oh  I  am  always  best,  when  I 
am  most  a-meditating  and  contemplating  Christ,  his  love,  his  grace,  &c. 
Ps.  cxxxix.  17,  *  How  precious  are  thy  thoughts  unto  me,  0  God  ;  how 
great  is  the  sum  of  them  1'^ 

Well,  is  this  all,  O  weak  saint  ? 

No,  sir,  I  have  one  thing  more  to  say. 

What  is  that  ? 

Why,  it  is  this  : 

[4.]  I  can  truly  say,  That  the  want  of  Christ's  love  is  a  greater  grief 
and  burden  to  my  soul,  than  the  want  of  any  outward  thing  in  this 
world.  I  am  in  a  wanting  condition,  as  to  temporals ;  I  want  health, 
and  strength,  and  trading,  friends,  and  money,  '  that  answereth  all 
things,'  as  Solomon  speaks,  Eccles.  x.  19.  And  yet  all  these  wants  do 
not  so  grieve  me,  and  so  afflict  and  trouble  me,  as  the  want  of  Christ, 
as  the  want  of  grace,  as  the  want  of  the  discoveries  of  that  favour  that 
is  better  than  life,  Ps.  Ixiii.  3,  4. 

Well,  is  this  all,  O  weak  saint  ? 

No,  sir,  there  is  one  thing  more. 

What  is  that  ? 

Why,  that  is  this : 

[5.]  That  I  would  not  willingly  nor  resolvedly  sin  against  Christ, 
for  a  world.  It  is  true,  I  dare  not  say  I  have  an  interest  in  Christ,  yet 
I  dare  say  that  I  would  not  willingly  and  resolvedly  sin  against  Christ 
for  a  world.^  I  can  say,  through  grace,  were  I  this  moment  to  die, 
that  my  greatest  fear  is  of  sinning  against  Christ,  and  my  greatest  care 
is  of  pleasing  Christ.  I  know  there  was  a  time,  when  my  greatest  care 
was  to  please  myself  and  the  creature,  and  my  greatest  fear  was  to 
please^  myself  and  the  creature.  I  can  remember  with  sorrow  and 
sadness  of  heart,  how  often  I  have  displeased  Christ  to  please  myself, 
and  displeased  Christ  to  please  the  creature ;  but  now  it  is  quite  other- 
wise with  me,  my  greatest  care  is  to  please  Christ,  and  my  greatest 
fear  is  of  offending  Christ.* 

Well,  is  this  all,  0  weak  saint  ? 

No,  sir,  I  have  one  thing  more. 

What  is  that? 

Why,  that  is  this : 

{6.]  Though  I  dare  not  say  that  Christ  is  mine,  and  that  I  have  an 
interest  in  him,  yet  I  can  truly  say,  I  dearly  love  the  people  of  Christ, 
for  the  image  of  Christ  that  I  see  stamped  upon  them.  It  is  true,  I 
dare  not  say  Christ  is  mine,  and  heaven  is  mine  ;  I  cannot  say  with 
such  and  such,  '  The  Lord  is  my  portion  ;'  yet  I  can  say  that  I  dearly 
love  those  that  have  the  Lord  for  their  portion.     I  can  truly  say,  that 

*  Some  contemplations  have  generationem  longam,  fruitionem  brevem  ;  but  these  are  not 
the  contemplations  of  the  saints. 

2  I  will  rather  leap  into  a  bonfire  than  wilfully  to  commit  wickedness,  wilfully  to  sin 
against  God.  '  Qu.  '  displease '  V — Ed. 

<  And  I,  said  Anselm,  had  rather  go  to  hell  pure  from  sin  than  to  heaven  polluted 
with  that  filth.  The  primitive  Christians  chose  rather  to  be  thrown  to  lions  without,  than 
left  to  lusts  within.    Ad  leonem  magis  quam  leones,  saith  TertuUian. 


80  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

the  poorest  and  the  most  neglected,  and  the  most  despised  saint  in  the 
world,  is  more  precious  in  my  eye,  and  more  dear  to  my  soul,  than  the 
greatest  and  the  richest  sinner  in  the  world,  Ps.  xvi.  3.^ 

Well,  is  this  all,  O  weak  saint,  that  thou  hast  to  say  ? 

No,  sir,  I  have  one  thing  more. 

What  is  that  ? 

Why,  that  is  this: 

[7.]  Though  I  dare  not  say  that  I  have  any  interest  in  Christ,  or 
that  I  love  Christ,  yet  I  dare  say,  that  my  soul  weeps  and  mourns  in 
secret  for  the  dishonour  that  is  done  to  Christ,  both  by  myself  and  by 
others  also.  I  can  look  the  Lord  in  the  face,  were  I  now  to  die,  and  say, 
Lord  !  thou  that  knowest  all  thoughts  and  hearts,  thou  dost  know,  that 
'  mine  eyes  run  down  with  rivers  of  tears,  because  men  keep  not  thy 
law,'  Jer.  ix.  1-3  ;  Ps.  cxix.  136. 

Well,  is  this  all? 

No,  sir,  I  crave  your  patience  to  hear  me  in  one  thing  more. 

What  is  that,  O  weak  Christian  f 

Why,  that  is  this: 

[8.]  That  I  prize  persons  and  things  according  to  the  spiritualness 
and  holiness  that  is  in  them  ;  and  the  more  spiritual  and  holy  any 
man  or  thing  is,  the  more  is  that  man  and  thing  prized  by  my  soul. 
1  have  often  thought  of  that  sweet  word,  Ps.  cxix.  104,  'Thy  word  is 
very  pure,  therefore  doth  thy  servant  love  it.''^  Other  men  love  it 
because  of  the  profit  they  get  by  it,  or  because  of  a  name,  or  this,  or 
that ;  but  I  love  it  for  the  purity,  for  the  holiness,  and  the  cleanness  of 
it.  No  preaching,  saith  the  weak  saint,  nor  no  praying,  nor  no  talking, 
nor  no  society  that  likes  me  and  is  sweet  to  me,  but  that  that  is  most 
spiritual,  most  holy.  It  is  not  an  exercise  tricked  and  trimmed  up 
with  wit,  learning,  and  eloquence  ;  it  is  not  the  hanging  of  truth's  ears 
with  counterfeit  pearls,  that  takes  me  ;  but  the  more  plainness,  spiritual- 
ness, and  holiness,  I  see  in  an  exercise,  the  more  is  my  heart  raised  to 
prize  it  and  love  it.  And  therefore,  saith  the  weak  saint,  because  Christ 
is  perfectly  and  infinitely  holy  above  all  other,  I  prize  Christ  above  all. 
Ordinances  are  sweet,  but  Christ  is  more  sweet  to  my  soul.  Saints  are 
precious,  but  Christ  is  far  more  precious.  Heaven  is  glorious,  but  Christ 
is  infinitely  more  glorious.  The  first  thing  that  I  would  ask,  if  I  might 
have  it,  saith  the  weak  saint,  is  Christ.  And  the  next  thing  that  I  would 
ask,  if  I  might  have  it,  is  more  of  Christ.  And  the  last  thing  that  I 
would  ask,  if  I  might  have  it,  is  that  I  might  be  satiated  and  filled  with 
the  fulness  of  Christ.  Let  the  ambitious  man  take  the  honours  of  the 
world,  so  I  may  but  have  Christ.  Let  the  voluptuous  man  swim  in  all 
the  pleasures  of  the  world,  so  I  may  have  Christ.  And  let  the  covetous 
man  tumble  up  and  down  in  all  the  gold  and  silver  of  the  world,  so  I 
may  have  Christ,  and  it  shall  be  enough  to  my  souL^ 

1  It  is  reported  of  Bucer  and  Calvin,  that  they  loved  all  them  in  whom  they  could  espy 
aliquid  Ghristi,  anything  of  Christ.  It  is  just  so  with  these  poor  hearts  that  question  their 
present  condition. 

2  Much  in  the  word  is  wrapped  up  in  a  little  ;  it  is  more  to  be  admired  than  to  liave 
Homer's  Iliads  comprised  in  a  nutshell.  The  word  is  like  the  stone,  garamantides,  that 
hath  golden  drops  within  itself,  enriching  of  the  gracious  soul. 

3  None  but  Christ,  none  but  Christ,  said  the  martyr.     [Sanders  and  Hudson,  as  before 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  81 

Well,  is  this  all,  0  weak  saint  ? 

No,  sir ;  I  liave  one  thing  more  to  say, 

What  is  that  ? 

Why,  it  is  this  : 

[9.]  I  find  the  same  confi,ict  in  my  soul  that  Paul  found  in  his  soul, 
after  he  vms  converted  near  upon  fourteen  years,  after  he  was  taken  up 
into  as  clear  and  choice  enjoyments  of  God,  as  any  soul  that  ever  I  read 
of.  The  conflict  that  is  mentioned,  Rom.  vii.  6,  I  find  in  my  soul. 
The  whole  frame  of  my  soul,  understanding,  will,  and  affections,  are 
set  against  sin.  I  find  that  '  I  hate  the  evil  that  I  do,  and  I  find  that 
the  good  that  I  would  do,  I  do  not,  and  the  evil  that  I  would  not  do, 
that  do  I.  I  find  a  law  in  my  members,  rebelling  against  the  law  of 
my  mind,  and  leading  of  me  captive  into  the  law  of  sin,'  and  this  makes 
me  often  to  cry  out  with  Paul,  '  O  wretched  man  that  I  am,  who  shall 
deliver  me  from  this  body  of  death?  Therefore  I  sometime  hope,  that 
those  sins  that  are  now  my  burden,  shall  never  hereafter  be  my  bane.^ 

Well,  and  is  this  all,  O  weak  saint  ? 

No,  sir ;  I  have  one  thing  more  to  say. 

What  is  that  ? 

Why  that  is  this  : 

[10.]  I  can  truly  say,  when  the  Loy^d  gives  me  any  strength  against 
si.n,  and  any  power  to  serve  him,  and  walk  close  with  him  in  his 
ways,  it  is  a  greater  joy  and  comfort  to  my  soul,  than  all  the  blessings 
of  this  life.  Though  I  have  not  yet  seen,  he  hath  'set  me  as  a  seal 
upon  his  heart,  as  a  seal  upon  his  arm  ;  though  I  have  not  yet  the 
clear  assurance  of  his  love ;  though  his  spirit  hath  not  yet  set  up  such  a 
light  in  my  soul,  whereby  I  might  run  and  read  my  right  and  title  to 
himself, and  heaven;  yet  when  he  doth  give  me  but  a  little  light  through 
a  crevice,  when  he  does  but  beginto  cause  his  love  to  dawn  upon  me,  when 
he  gives  me  but  a  little  strength  against  sin,  and  a  little  power  to  walk 
close  with  himself,  &c. ;  oh,  this  doth  administer  more  abiding  joy,  and 
more  sweet  peace,  and  more  solid  comfort  to  my  soul,  than  all  the  riches, 
honours,  friends,  and  favours  of  this  world.^ 

Well,  is  this  all,  O  weak  saint  ? 

No,  sir ;  I  have  one  thing  more  to  say. 

What  is  that? 

Why,  that  is  this  : 

[1  l.J  Though  my  interest  in  Christ  he  not  clear  to  me,  yet  I  can  truly 
say  I  would  not  change  my  condition  with  the  men  of  this  yjorld,  for 
a  thousand  worlds,  Ps.  ci.  3  ;  cxxxix.  21,  22;  cxx.  6.  It  is  true,  I 
cannot  say  that  I  have  *  the  seal  and  witness  of  the  Spirit,'  that  many 
talk  and  boast  of,  though  I  fear  but  a  few  enjoy;  yet  I  can  truly  say, 
that  I  would  not  change  my  estate  with  men  merely  civil,  nor  with  the 
profane  men  of  this  world,  for  ten  thousand  worlds,  &c. 

Well,  is  this  all,  0  soul ! 

^  The  best  saints  in  this  world  are  like  the  tribe  of  Manasseh,  half  on  this  side  Jordan, 
in  the  land  of  the  Araorites,  and  half  on  that  side,  in  the  Holy  Land.  And  though  to 
be  kept  from  sin  brings  most  comfort  to  a  poor  soul,  yet  for  a  poor  soul  to  oppose  sin,  and 
God  to  pardon  sin,  that  brings  most  glory  to  God,  2  Cor.  xii.  7-9. 

2  Sozomen  relates  of  one  who  v,as  as  circumspect  to  be  seen  as  to  be.  A  gracious  soul 
is  as  careful  that  he  does  not  endanger  another  by  a  bad  life,  as  he  is  careful  to  save  hia 
own  life. 

VOL.  III.  F 


82  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

No,  sir  ;  I  have  but  one  thing  more,  and  then  I  have  done. 

Well,  what  is  that  ? 

Why,  that  is  this. 

[12.]  I  find  my  soul  carried  forth  to  a  secret  resting,  relying,  lean- 
ing, staying,  aad,  hanging  upon  Christ  for  life  and  happiness. 
Though  I  know  not  how  it  shall  go  with  me,  yet  I  have  thrown  myself 
into  his  arms ;  I  lean  upon  him ;  there  I  will  hang,  and  there  I  will 
rest  and  stay :  '  if  I  must  perish,  I  will  perish  there,'  Job  xiii.  1 5  ; 
2  Kings  vii.  3-5  ;  Esther  iv.  ]  6. 

And  thus,  sir,  I  have  opened  my  state  and  condition  to  you  ;  and 
now  I  do  earnestly  desire  your  judgment  upon  the  whole. 

Well,  then,  this  I  shall  say,  as  *  I  must  answer  it  in  the  day  of  my 
appearing  before  God,'  that  had  I  as  many  souls  as  I  have  hairs  on  my 
head,  or  as  there  be  stars  in  heaven,  I  could  freely  adventure  the  loss 
of  them  all,  if  these  things  do  not  undeniably  speak  out,  not  only  the 
truth,  but  also  the  strength  of  grace,  &c.  Nay,  let  me  tell  you,  that  he 
that  finds  but  any  of  these  things  really  in  his  soul,  though  the  Lord 
hath  not  given  him  a  clear  and  full  manifestation  of  his  love  and  favour, 
&c.,  yet,  while  breath  is  in  his  body,  he  hath  eminent  cause  to  bless 
God,  and  to  walk  thankfully  and  humbly  before  him. 

The  second  duty  is  this, 

2.  Live  up  to  that  little  grace  you  have. 

Thou  sayest,  O  weak  Christian,  thou  hast  but  a  little  light,  a  little 
love,  a  little  zeal,  a  little  faith,  &c.  Well,  grant  it,  but  know  that  it  is 
thy  duty  to  live  up  to  those  measures  of  grace  thou  hast.  And  this  is 
the  second  head  that  I  shall  press  upon  you,  live  up  and  live  out  that 
grace  you  have.^  And  if  ever  there  were  a  season  to  press  this  point 
home  upon  souls,  this  is  the  season  in  which  we  live.  And  considering 
that  it  is  not  a  flood  of  words,  but  weight  of  argument,  that  carries  it 
with  ingenuous  spirits,  I  shall  therefore  propound  these  following  things 
to  their  serious  consideration. 

[1.]  First,  Consider  this,  living  up  to  your  graces  carries  with  it  the 
greatest  evidence  of  the  truth  of  grace. 

That  man  that  lives  not  up  to  his  grace,  let  him  be  strong  or  weak, 
wants  one  of  the  best  and  strongest  demonstrations'  that  can  be  to 
evidence  the  truth  of  his  grace.  If  you  would  have  a  clear  evidence 
that  that  little  love,  that  little  faith,  that  little  zeal  you  have  is  true, 
then  live  up  to  that  love,  live  up  to  that  faith,  live  up  to  that  zeal  that 
you  have,  and  this  will  evidence  it  beyond  all  contradiction,  &c.^ 

[2.1  Secondly,  Consider  this,  God  and  your  own  souls  will  he  very 
great  losers,  if  you  live  not  up  to  those  measures  of  grace  you  have. 

God  will  lose  many  prayers  and  many  praises ;  he  will  lose  much 
honour,  and  glory,  and  service,  which  otherwise  he  might  have ;  and 
you  will  lose  much  peace,  much  comfort,  much  rest,  quietness,  and  con- 
tent that  otherwise  your  souls  might  enjoy,  &c.^ 

1  To  speak  well,  saitli  Isiodore  Pelusiota,  is  to  sound  like  a  cymtal ;  but  to  do  well,  is 
to  act  like  an  angel,  &c. 

'  If  Seneca  said  of  his  wise  man,  Mojore  parte  illic  est,  unde  descendit,  he  is  more  in 
heaven  than  in  earth  ;  may  not  I  say  this  is  much  more  true  of  the  godly  ?  &c.  [Be  Con- 
ttantia  Sapientis  et  Epistolce. — G.] 

3  Of  all  lossfs,  spiritual  losses  are  the  saddest  and  greatest,  and  fetched  up  with  the 
greatest  difficulty. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  S3 

[3.]  Thirdly,  Consider  this,  your  not  living  up  to  that  little  light 
and  grace  you  have,  will  open  the  mouths  of  graceless  souls  against 
your  gracious  God,  and  against  his  gracious  ones,  and  against  his 
gracious  ways} 

You  think,  because  of  the  weakness  of  your  grace,  you  must  be  borne 
with  in  this,  and  that,  and  what  not.  But  remember,  it  is  your  duty 
to  live  up  to  the  light  and  grace  you  have;  and  nothing  below  this  will 
effectually  stop  the  mouths  of  graceless  wretches  from  barking  against 
the  ways  of  God,  the  truths  of  God,  and  the  people  of  God.  Vain  men 
will  be  often  a-reasoning  thus  :  though  such  and  such  men  and  women 
have  not  such  great  knowledge,  such  clear  light,  such  strong  love,  and 
such  burning  zeal  as  David,  Paul,  and  other  worthies,  yet  they  have 
so  much  light  and  knowledge  as  tells  them  that  they  should  not  carry 
themselves  thus  and  thus  as  they  do.  Their  light  and  knowledge  tells 
them  that  they  should  be  just  and  righteous  in  their  dealings,  and  in 
all  their  ways  and  designs,  &c.  Though  they  have  not  such  great  mea- 
sures of  spiritual  enjoyments  as  such  and  such,  yet  that  little  grace  they 
have  should  lead  them  by  the  hand  to  do  things  worthy  of  that  Christ 
and  the  gospel  they  profess,  &c. 

Let  me  a  little  expostulate  the  point  with  you,  weak  saints ;  you  know 
that  you  should  not  be  stirred  and  heated  by  every  straw  that  is  in 
your  way.  Why  do  not  you  in  this,  then,  live  up  to  your  light  ?  You 
know  that  you  should  not  '  be  overcome  of  evil,  but  overcome  evil  with 
good,'  Kom.  xii.  21.  And  why  do  not  you  in  this  live  up  to  your  light  ? 
You  know  that  you  should  '  do  good  to  those  that  do  hurt  to  you,'  Mat. 
V.  44-48.  Why  do  not  you  in  this  live  up  to  your  light  'i  You  know 
that  you  should  do  your  duties  to  others,  though  they  neglect  their 
duties  to  you.  It  is  not  the  neglect  of  a  husband's  duty  that  frees  the 
wife  from  the  discharge  of  hers,  nor  the  neglect  of  a  wife's  duty  that  frees 
the  husband  from  the  discharge  of  his.  You  know  this,  don't  you  ?  Yes. 
Why  don't  you  tten  live  up  to  your  light?  Why  do  you  by  your  contrary 
actings  open  the  mouths  of  others  against  God  and  his  ways  ?  You 
know  that  you  should  be  exemplary  in  your  relations,  in  your  genera- 
ations,  and  in  your  conversations ;  you  know  that  you  should  be  ex- 
amples of  holiness,  meekness,  sweetness,  patience,  and  contentedness, 
and  why  then  don't  you  live  up  to  your  knowledge  in  these  things  ? 
You  know  that  you  should  do  to  others  as  you  would  have  others  to  do 
to  you  ;  and  why  in  this  don't  you  live  up  to  your  knowledge  ?  Ah  ! 
that  you  that  are  weak  did  not  cause  the  mouths  of  wicked  men  to  be 
opened  against  God,  his  truths  and  ways,  by  your  living  below  that  light 
and  knowledge  that  God  hath  given  you  !  I  beseech  you,  as  you  tender 
the  honour  of  God,  and  as  you  would  stop  the  mouths  of  vain  men,  live 
up  to  those  measures  of  grace  that  the  Lord  hath  given  you.  No  way 
to  comfort  like  this,  no  way  to  the  crown  like  this.  He  will  not  be  long 
a  babe  in  grace,  who  lives  out  that  little  grace  he  hath. 

[4.]  Fourthly,  Living  up  to  your  ligM  is  the  readiest  and  the  only 
way  to  fetch  up  and  to  recover  all  that  hath  been  lost  by  your  living 
below  your  light. 

•  1  Peter  ii.  15,  ye  may  put  to  silence.  The  Greek  word  (piftovv  signifies  to  muzzle,  to 
halter  up,  or  button  up  their  mouths,  as  we  say.  Oh  !  there  is  nothing  that  will  so 
muzzle  and  button  up  the  mouths  of  vain  men  as  Christians  living  up  to  that  light  aud 
grace  they  have.     [Cf.  Glossary  under  '  button '  for  other  references. — G.] 


84  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

By  your  living  below  your  light,  God,  your  own  souls,  and  the  gospel 
liave  lost  much,  yea,  and  others  also  have  lost  much  light,  comfort, 
strength,  and  quickness,  &c.,  that  they  might  have  had,  had  you  but 
lived  up  to  that  little  grace  you  had.  Now,  there  is  no  way  on  earth  to  re- 
cover and  to  fetch  up  these  losses,  but  by  living  up  to  that  grace  you  have. 
Ah,  Christians  !  it  is  not  your  running  from  sermon  to  sermon, — not  that 
I  speak  against  frequent  hearing  of  the  word, — nor  your  crying  up  this 
man  and  that  man,  or  this  notion  and  that,  or  this  way  or  that,  that 
will  recover  and  fetch  up  the  honour  that  God  hath  lost  by  your  living 
below  your  graces.^  It  is  only  your  living  up  to  your  graces  that  will 
make  up  all  the  breaches  that  have  been  made  upon  his  honour  and  the 
gospel,  and  upon  the  comfort  and  peace  of  your  own  souls  and  others'. 
Well,  remember  this,  all  the  honour  that  God  hath  from  you  in  this 
life,  is  from  your  living  up  to  that  light,  knowledge,  love,  fear,  and  faith 
that  he  hath  given  you.  There  is  nothing  that  will  make  up  all  losses 
but  this;  therefore  I  beg  of  you,  upon  the  knees  of  my  soul,  that  you 
would  take  this  one  thing  home  with  you,  and  go  into  your  closets,  and  lay 
your  hands  upon  your  hearts,  and  say.  Well,  the  Lord  hath  lost  much, 
and  my  own  soul  hath  lost  much,  and  others  have  lost  much,  by  my 
living  below  that  little  grace  I  have ;  and  therefore  I  will  now  make  it  my 
business,  by  assisting  grace,  to  live  up  to  those  measures  of  grace  that 
I  have  received,  more  than  yet  I  have  done  all  my  days.  I  will,  by  the 
strength  of  Christ,  make  it  more  my  duty  and  my  work  to  live  out  what 
God  hath  given  in  than  ever  yet  I  have  done,  that  so  the  Lord  and  the 
gospel  may  be  no  further  losers  but  gainers  by  me. 

[5.]  The  fifth  and  last  motive  is  this,  the  readiest  and  the  surest 
way  to  get  more  grace,  is  to  live  up  to  that  little  grace  you  have. 

He  that  lives  up  to  a  little  light  shall  have  more  light ;  he  that  lives 
up  to  a  little  knowledge  shall  have  more  knowledge  ;  he  that  lives  up 
to  a  little  faith  shall  have  more  faith  ;  and  he  that  lives  up  to  a  little 
love  shall  have  more  love,  &c.^  There  is  no  such  way  to  attain  to 
greater  measures  of  grace  as  for  a  man  to  live  up  to  that  little  grace  he 
hath.  Verily,  the  main  reason  why  many  are  .such  babes  and  shrubs 
in  grace,  is  because  they  do  not  live  up  to  their  attainments.  He  that 
wont  improve  two  talents,  shall  never  have  the  honour  to  be  trusted 
with  live ;  but  he  that  improves  a  little,  shall  be  trusted  with  much  : 
'  The  diligent  hand  maketh  rich,'  Prov.  x.  4.  He  that  is  active  and  agile, 
that  works  as  well  as  wishes,  that  adds  endeavours  to  his  desires,  will 
quickly  be  a  cedar  in  grace.  Ah,  Christians  !  you  have  a  God  that  is 
great,  a  God  that  is  good,  a  God  that  is  gracious,  and  a  God  that  is  rich, 
that  loves  not  to  see  his  children  to  be  always  weaklings  and  striplings 
in  grace.  The  very  babe,  by  drawing  tho  breasts,  gets  strength  and 
nourishmentu     Oh  you  babes  in  grace,  put  out  that  little  strength  you 

'  Bernard  [Serm.  on  Canticles,  as  before.— G.']  paraphrasing  on  that  of  Solomon,  'A 
lily  amongst  thorns,'  saith,  The  manners,  or  lives  of  men,  as  lilies,  have  their  colours 
and  odours  ;  that  which  comes  from  a  pure  heart  and  a  good  conscience  hath  the  colour 
of  a  lily,  if  a  good  name  follow.  It  is  more  truly  a  lily  when  neither  candour  nor 
(Klour  of  the  lily  is  wanting.     Non  enim  passibus  ad  Deum  sed  affectibus  currimus. 

2  Job  xvii.  29  ;  Cant.  vi.  10  ;  Prov.  iv.  18.  History  reports  of  a  country  in  Africa  where 
the  people's  industry  hath  an  abundant  reward ;  for  every  bushel  of  seed  they  sow,  they 
receive  tme  hundred  and  fifty  after. — Blazacium.  Pliiy,  lib.  xviii.  cap.  x.  The  application 
18  easy. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  85 

have,  be  you  still  a-drawing  at  the  breasts  of  Christ,  at  the  breasts  of 
the  promises,  and  strength  will  come,  nourishment  will  follow,  &c.^ 

The  third  duty  that  I  would  press  upon  weak  saints  is  this  : 

3.  Be  sure  that  you  always  reflect  upon  your  graces,  and  luhatso- 
ever  good  is  in  you,  with  cautions. 

This  is  a  weighty  point,  and  doth  bespeak  your  most  serious 
attention. 

There  are  six  rules  or  cautions  that  weak  saints  should  always  ob- 
serve in  their  looking  upon  their  graces. 

And  the  first  is  this: 

[].]  Look  upon  all  your  graces  as  gifts  of  grace,  as  favours  given 
you  from  above,  as  gifts  dropped  out  of  heaven  into  your  hearts,  as 
flowers  that  are  given  you  out  of  the  garden  of  paradise. 

A  man  should  never  look  upon  his  grace,  but  he  should  look  upon 
it  as  a  flower  of  paradise,  as  a  gift  that  God  hath  cast  into  his  bosom 
from  heaven.  1  Cor.  iv.  7,  'Who  maketh  thee  to  differ  from  another? 
And  what  hast  thou  that  thou  hast  not  received  ?'  &c.  '  Of  thine  own,' 
saith  David,  '  have  we  given  thee,'  1  Chron.  xxix.  14.  Thou  talkest  of 
light,  of  love,  of  fear,  of  faith,  &c.,  but  what  are  all  these  but  pearls  of 
glory  that  are  freely  given^  thee  by  the  hand  of  grace  ?  '  Every  good 
and  perfect  gift  comes  down  from  above.'  As  all  light  flows  from  the 
sun,  and  all  water  from  the  sea,  so  all  good  flows  from  heaven.  The 
greatest  excellencies  in  us  do  as  much  depend  upon  God,  as  the  light 
doth  upon  the  sun.  When  thou  lookest  upon  thy  wisdom,  thou  must 
say.  Here  is  wisdom,  ay,  but  it  is  from  above  ;  here  is  some  weak  love 
working  towards  Christ,  but  it  is  from  above ;  here  is  joy,  and  comfort, 
and  peace,  but  these  are  all  the  flowers  of  paradise ;  they  never  grew 
in  nature's  garden.  When  a  soul  looks  thus  upon  all  those  costly 
diamonds  with  which  his  heart  is  decked,  he  keeps  low,  though  his 
graces  are  high.  Where  this  rule  is  neglected,  the  soul  will  be  en- 
dangered of  being  swelled  and  puffed. 

Mr  Foxe  was  used  to  say,  that  *  as  he  got  much  good  by  his  sins,  so 
he  got  much  hurt  by  his  graces.'  When  you  look  upon  the  stream, 
remember  the  fountain  ;  when  you  look  upon  the  flower,  remember  the 
root ;  when  you  look  upon  the  stars,  remember  the  sun  ;  and  when  you 
look  upon  your  graces,  remember  the  fountain  of  grace,  else  Satan  will 
be  too  hard  for  you.  Satan  is  so  artificial,''  so  subtle  and  critical,  that 
he  can  make  your  very  graces  to  serve  him  against  your  graces  ;  con- 
quering joy  by  joy,  sorrow  by  sorrow,  humility  by  humility,  fear  by 
fear,  and  love  by  love,  if  you  do  not  look  upon  all  your  graces  as  streams 
flowing  from  the  fountain  above,  and  as  fruits  growing  upon  the  tree 
of  life  that  is  in  the  midst  of  the  paradise  of  God.  Therefore,  when 
one  eye  is  fixed  upon  your  graces,  let  the  other  be  always  fixed  upon  the 
•God  of  grace. 

[2  ]  Secondly,  At  that  time  when  your  eye  is  upon  inherent  grace 
and  righteousness,  let  your  heart  be  fixed  upon  Christ,  and  his  ira- 
puted  righteousness.^ 

•  Dionysius  gave  him  his  money  again,  from  whom  he  had  taken  much,  after  that  he 
heard  he  employed  a  little  well.     And  will  God  be  worse  than  a  heathen  ? 

2  'Artful.'— G. 

'  Ant.  totam  mecvm  tene,  ant  totam  amitte. — Gregory  Nazienzen.  Let  us  say  of  Christ, 
as  the  heathen  once  said  of  his  petty  gods,  Conlemno  minutos  istos  Deos,  modo  Jovem  pro- 


86  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EpH.  III.  8. 

Paul's  eye  was  upon  his  grace:  E-om.  vii.  22,  25,  'I  delight  iu  the 
law  of  God,  after  the  inward  man.  And  with  my  mind  I  serve  the  law 
of  God.'  And  yet  at  tliat  very  same  time,  his  heart  was  set  upon 
Christ,  and  taken  up  with  Christ ;  ver.  25,  '  I  thank  God,  through  our 
Lord  Jesus  Christ.'  So  in  Col.  ii.  2,  3,  you  have  one  eye  fixed  upon 
grace,  and  at  the  same  time  the  heart  fixed  upon  Christ.  '  That  their 
hearts  might  be  comforted,  being  knit  together  in  love,  and  unto  all 
riches  of  the  full  assurance  of  understanding,  to  the  acknowledgment 
of  the  mystery  of  God,  and  of  the  Father,  and  of  Christ ;  in  whom  are 
hid  all  the  treasures  of  wisdom  and  knowledge.'  His  eye  is  upon  grace, 
his  heart  is  upon  Christ.  So  in  Philip,  iii.  8,  the  apostle  hath  his  eye 
upon  the  excellent  knowledge  of  Christ,  but  ver.  9,  his  heart  is  set  upon 
the  righteousness  of  Christ.  'That  I  might  be  found  in  him,  not 
having  mine  own  righteousness,  which  is  of  the  law,  but  that  which  is 
through  the  faith  of  Christ,  the  righteousness  which  is  of  God  by  faith.' 
Here  you  have  his  eye  upon  grace,  and  his  heart  upon  Christ,  in  the 
very  presence  of  his  grace.  This  is  your  glory.  Christians,  in  the  presence 
and  sight  of  all  your  graces,  to  see  the  free  grace  of  Christ,  and  his  in- 
finite, spotless,  matchless,  and  glorious  righteousness,  to  be  your  surest, 
sweetest,  highest,  and  choicest  comfort  and  refuge. 

Peter  was  not  well  skilled  in  this  lesson,  and  that  was  the  very 
reason  that  he  fell  foulest,  when  his  confidence  was  highest.  Grace  is 
a  ring  of  gold,  and  Christ  is  the  pearl  in  that  ring  ;  and  he  that  looks 
more  upon  the  ring  than  the  pearl  that  is  in  it,  in  the  hour  of  tempta- 
tion will  certainly  fall.  When  the  wife's  eye  is  upon  her  rings  or 
jewels,  then  her  heart  must  be  set  upon  her  husband.  When  grace  is 
in  my  eye,  Christ  must  at  that  time  be  in  my  arms,  yea,  he  must  lie 
between  my  breasts  :  Cant.  i.  13,  '  My  beloved  is  as  a  bundle  of  myrrh, 
lie  shall  lie  all  night  between  my  breasts.'  Christ,  and  not  grace,  must 
lie  nearest  to  a  Christian's  heart. 

[3.]  A  third  thing  is  this.  When  you  look  upon  your  grace,  you 
TYiust  look  upon  it  as  a  beautiful  creature,  that  is  begotten  in  the  soul 
by  Christ,  and  that  is  strengthened,  maintained,  cherished,  and  up- 
held in  your  souls  by  nothing  below  the  spiritual,  internal,  and 
glorious  operations  of  Christ} 

Though  grace  be  a  beautiful  creature,  yet  grace  is  but  a  creature, 
and  so  your  souls  must  look  upon  it.  Grace  is  a  heavenly  offspring,  it 
is  the  first-born  of  God,  as  I  may  say,  and  does  most  represent  him  to 
the  life.  Grace  is  a  bud  of  glory ;  it  is  of  the  blood  royal ;  it  is  nobly 
descended,  James  i.  17.  So  in  Heb.  xii.  2,  'Looking  unto  Jesus,  the 
author  and  finisher  of  our  faith.'  Christ  is  the  Alpha  and  Omega,  the 
beginner  and  ender.^  In  all  other  things  and  arts,  the  same  man 
cannot  begin  and  finish,  but  Christ  doth  both.  Philip,  i.  5,  Our  graces 
thrive  and  are  upheld  in  life  and  power,  in  beauty  and  gloiy,  by  the 
internal  operation  of  Christ  in  our  souls.  So  in  Col.  i.  27,  '  Christ  in 
you  the  hope  of  glory,'     So  ver.  29,  '  Whereunto  I  also  labour,  striving 

pitium  habeam,  so  long  as  he  had  Jupiter  to  friend,  he  regarded  them  not.  So,  so  long 
as  we  have  our  Jesus  to  friend,  we  should  not  regard  others,  no,  not  our  very  graces,  in 
comparison  of  Christ. 

^  Gal.  ii.  20,  Philip,  i.  6.  Deus  nihil  coronal  nisi  dona  sua,  when  God  crowneth  us,  he 
doth  but  crown  his  own  gifts  in  us. — Augustine. 

2  u^X^Yiyo))  xat  rtXiiuTYi)!,  the  leader  and  crowner. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  87 

according  to  his  working  which  worketh  in  me  mightily.'  So  Philip, 
iv.  13,  'I  can  do  all  things,  through  Christ  that  strengtheneth  me  ;  I  can 
be  high  and  low,  poor  and  rich,  honourable  and  base,  something  or 
nothing,  &c.,  through  Christ  that  strengthens  me.'^  So  in  Cant.  iv. 
16,  *  Blow  upon  my  garden,  that  the  spices  thereof  may  send  forth  a 
fragrant  smell'  We  may  puff  and  blow  our  hearts  out,  and  yet  no 
savoury  smell  will  flow  forth,  if  Christ  does  not  blow.  So  in  Ps.  cxxxviii. 
3,  *  In  the  day  when  I  cried,  thou  answeredst  me,  and  strengthenedst 
me  with  strength  in  my  soul'  Your  graces,  Christians,  are  heavenly 
plants  of  God's  own  setting  and  watering  ;  and  certainly  the  heavenly 
liusbandman  will  never  suffer  such  plants  of  renown  to  wither,  for 
want  of  heavenly  sap ;  he  will  look  to  the  strengthening,  supporting, 
and  nourishing  the  work  of  his  own  hand.  He  will  cause  the  desires 
of  his  people  to  bud,  and  their  graces  to  blossom,  and  their  souls  to  be 
like  a  watered  garden,  green  and  flourishing :  Isa.  Iviii.  1 1,  compared 
with  Isa.  XXXV.  6,  7. 

[4.]  Fourthly,  When  yow  look  upon  your  graces,  you  must  look 
upon  them  as  an  earnest  of  more  glorious  and  unspeakable  mea- 
sures of  grace  and  glory,  tJiat  your  souls  shall  be  filled  with  at 
last. 

In  Eph.  L  13,  14,  'After  that  ye  believed,  ye  were  sealed  with  that 
Holy  Spirit  of  promise,  which  is  the  earnest  of  our  inheritance,  until 
the  redemption  of  the  purchased  possession,  unto  the  praise  of  his 
glory.'  That  little  light  and  knowledge  thou  hast,  is  an  earnest  to  thy 
soul,  that  thou  shalt  at  last  know,  even  as  thou  art  known.  1  Cor.  xiii. 
12,  'For  now  we  see  through  a  glass  darkly,  but  then  face  to  face. 
Now  I  know  in  part,  but  then  shall  I  know,  even  as  I  am  known.' 
Christians  know  but  little  of  that  they  should  know,  they  know  but 
little  of  that  they  might  know,  they  know  but  little  of  that  others 
know,  they  know  but  little  of  that  they  desire  to  knaw,  they  know  but 
little  of  that  they  shall  know,  when  they  shall  come  to  know  'even  as 
they  are  known.'  And  yet  these  weak  and  imperfect  glimpses  that 
they  have  of  God  and  heaven  here,  are  infallible  pledges  of  that  perfect 
knowledge  and  full  prospect  that  they  shall  have  of  God  and  heaven 
hereafter.  So  that  that  little  spark  of  joy  thou  hast,  is  an  earnest  of 
those  everlasting  joys  that  shall  rest  upon  thy  head,  when  all  sorrow 
and  mourning  shall  fly  away,  Isa.  xxxv.  10,  &c.  And  those  sips  of 
comfort  thou  hast  now,  are  an  earnest  of  thy  swimming  in  those  ever- 
lasting pleasures  that  be  'at  God's  right  hand,'  Ps.  xvi.  11.  The  least 
measures  of  grace  are  an  earnest  of  greater  measures.  God  will  not 
lose  his  earnest,  though  men  often  lose  theirs.  God  will  not  despise 
'  the  day  of  small  things ;'  he  will  make  those  that  bring  forth  but 
thirty  fold,  to  bring  forth  sixty  fold ;  and  those  that  bring  forth  sixty 
fold,  to  bring  forth  a  hundred  fold,  &c.  He,  his  Son  and  Spirit,  are  all 
eminently  and  fully  engaged  to  carry  on  the  work  of  grace  in  his 
children's  souls.     Therefore  do  not  sit  down  and  say,  My  light  is  but 

'  ivi^yovfiivnv  iv  ^uvoifin,  IS  wrouglit  in  me  in  power.  The  word  iruvrei,  all  things,  though 
it  be  an  universal,  is  not  to  be  taken  in  the  utmost  extent,  but  according  to  the  use  of  the 
like  phrases  in  all  languages,  wherein  the  universal  sign  affixed,  either  to  persons,  or 
times,  or  places,  or  things,  signilies  a  great  number,  but  not  all  without  exception,  as 
you  may  see  by  comparing  these  scriptures  together  :  Ps.  xiv.  4,  8,  9  ;  John  xiv.  26  ; 
1  Cor.  X.  23.     fcjo  those  words  are  to  be  understood  in  Thilip.  iv.  13. 


88  THE  UNSEAKCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

dim,  and  my  love  but  weak,  and  my  joy  but  a  spark  that  will  quickly 
go  out,  &c.  But  always  remember,  that  those  weak  measures  of  grace 
thou  hast,  are  a  sure  evidence  of  greater  measures  that  God  will  confer 
upon  thee  in  his  own  time  and  in  his  own  ways,  Isa.  Ixiv.  4,  5.^ 

[5.]  Fifthly,  When  you  look  upon  your  graces,  be  sure  that  you  look 
more  at  the  truth  of  your  graces,  than  at  the  measure  of  your  graces. 

You  must  rather  bring  your  graces  to  the  touchstone,  to  try  their 
truth,  than  to  the  balance,  to  weigh  their  measures.  Many  weak 
Christians  are  weighing  their  graces,  when  they  should  be  a-trying  the 
truth  of  their  graces,  as  if  the  quantity  and  measure  of  grace  were 
more  considerable  than  the  essence  and  nature  of  grace.  And  this  is 
that  that  keeps  many  weak  saints  in  a  dark,  doubting,  questioning,  and 
despairing  condition ;  yea,  this  makes  their  lives  a  very  hell.  Weak 
saints,  if  you  will  not  observe  this  rule,  this  caution,  when  you  look 
upon  your  graces,  you  will  go  sighing  and  mourning  to  your  graves. 
Ah  !  poor  hearts,  you  should  not  be  more  cruel  to  your  own  souls  than 
God  is.  When  God  comes  to  a  judgment  of  your  spiritual  estates,  he 
doth  not  bring  a  pair  of  scales  to  weigh  yowY  graces,  but  a  touchstone 
to  try  the  truth  of  your  graces ;  and  so  should  you  deal  by  your  own 
souls.  If  you  deal  otherwise,  you  are  more  cruel  to  your  souls  than 
God  would  have  you.  And  if  you  are  resolved  that  in  this  you  will  not 
imitate  the  Lord,  then  I  dare  prophesy  that  joy  and  peace  shall  be 
none  of  your  guests,  and  he  that  should  comfort  you  will  '  stand  afar 
off,'  Lam.  i.  16.  It  is  good  to  own  and  acknowledge  a  little  grace, 
though  it  be  mingled  with  very  much  corruptions  ;  as  that  poor  soul 
did,  Mark  ix.  24,  '  And  straightway  the  father  of  the  child  cried  out, 
and  said  with  tears.  Lord,  I  believe  ;  help  thou  mine  unbelief.'  He 
had  but  a  little  little  faith,  and  this  was  mixed  with  abundance  of  un- 
belief, a.nd  yet  notwithstanding  he  acknowledges  that  little  faith  he  had, 
*  Lord,  I  believe,  help  my  unbelief.'  His  faith  was  so  weak,  that  he 
accounts  it  little  better  than  unbelief;  yet,  says  he,  'Lord,  I  believe, 
help  my  unbelief.'  The  least  measure  of  faith  will  make  thee  blessed 
here  and  happy  hereafter.^ 

A  doctor  cried  out  upon  his  dying-bed.  Credo  languida  fide,  sed 
tamenfidei;  much  faith  will  yield  unto  us  here  our  heaven,  and  any 
faith,  if  true,  will  yield  us  heaven  hereafter.  So  the  church  in  Cant.  i. 
5,  '  I  am  black,  but  comely.'  She  had  nothing  to  say  for  her  beauti- 
fulness,  yet  she  ackno  wledgeth  her  comeliness.  'I  am  black,  but  comely.' 
Though  she  could  not  say  she  was  clear,  yet  she  could  say  she  was 
comely.  As  she  was  free  to  confess  her  blackness,  so  she  was  ingenuous 
to  acknowledge  her  comeliness.  'I  am  black,  but  comely.'  Ah,  Chris- 
tians! will  you  deal  worse  with  your  own  souls,  than  you  deal  with  your 
children?  When  you  go  to  make  a  judo^ment  of  your  child's  affections, 
you  look  more  to  the  truth  of  their  affections,  than  you  do  to  the  strength 
of  their  affections;  and  will  you  be  less  ingenuous  and  favourable  to 

'  iv  eelviyfiKTi,  in  a  riddle.  Enigma  is  properly  obscura  aWgoria,  an  obscure  allegory  : 
it  is  an  allegory  with  a  mask,  or  it  is  a  cloudy,  knotty,  intricate  speech,  sealed  and  locked 
Tip  from  vulgar  apprehensions.     That  is  a  riddle. 

*  Grace  is  homogeneal.  Every  twinkling  of  light  is  light ;  every  drop  of  vs^ater  is 
water  ;  every  spark  of  fire  is  fire  ;  every  drop  of  honey  is  honey.  So  every  drop  of  grace 
is  grace  ;  and  if  the  least  drop  or  spark  of  grace  be  not  worth  acknowledging,  it  is  worth 
nothing. 


EpH,  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  89 

your  poor  souls  ?  If  he  deserves  to  be  branded,  that  feasts  his  child 
and  starves  his  wife,  what  do  you  deserve,  that  can  acknowledge 
the  least  natural  good  that  is  in  a  child,  and  yet  will  acknowledge 
none  of  that  spiritual  and  heavenly  good  that  is  in  your  souls  ? 

[6.]  Sixthly,  and  lastly,  When  you  look  upon  your  graces,  look  that 
you  do  not  renounce  and  reject  your  graces,  seen  in  the  light  of  the 
Spirit,  as  a  weak  and  worthless  evidence  of  your  interest  in  Christ, 
and  that  happiness  that  comes  by  Christ. 

I  know  in  these  days  many  cry  up  revelations  and  visions,  yea,  the 
visions  of  their  own  hearts,  and  make  slight  of  the  graces  of  Christ  in 
the  hearts  of  his  people ;  yea,  they  look  upon  grace  as  a  poor  weak 
thing.  Ah,  Christians  !  take  heed  of  this,  else  you  will  render  null, 
in  a  very  great  measure,  many  precious  scriptures, — especially  the 
Epistles  of  John, — which  were  penned  for  the  comfort  and  support  of 
weak  saints.^ 

But  that  this  may  stick  and  work,  be  pleased  to  carry  home  with 
you  these  three  things. 

(1.)  First,  Other  precious  saints  that  are  now  triumphing  in  heaven, 
have  pleaded  their  interest  in  God's  love,  and  hopes  of  a  better  life, 
from  graces  inherent. 

I  will  only  point  at  those  scriptures  that  speak  out  this  truth  :  1  John 
iii.  14,  ii.  3,  4  ;  Job  xxiii.  10-1 2 ;  and  the  whole  31st  chapter  of  Job  ; 
Ps.  cxix.  6  ;  Isa.  xxxviii.  2,  3;  2  Cor.  i.  12.  All  these  scriptures,  with 
many  others  that  might  be  produced,  do  with  open  mouth  proclaim 
this  truth.  And  surely  to  deny  the  fruit  growing  upon  the  tree  to  be 
an  evidence  that  the  tree  is  alive,  is  to  me  as  unreasonable  as  it  is 
absurd.  Certainly,  it  is  one  thing  to  judge  by  our  graces,  and  another 
thing  to  trust  in  our  graces,  to  make  a  saviour  of  our  graces.  There  is 
a  great  deal  of  difference  betwixt  declaring  and  deserving ;  and  if  this 
be  not  granted,  it  will  follow,  that  the  apostle  hath  sent  us  aside  to  a 
covenant  of  works,  when  he  exhorts  us  to  *  use  all  diligence  to  make 
our  calling  and  election  sure,'  2  Peter  i.  5-10.^ 

(2.)  Secondly,  Carry  home  this  with  you.  If  justification  and  sancti- 
fi cation  be  both  of  them  benefits  of  the  covenant  of  grace,  then  to 
evidence  the  one  by  the  other,  is  no  ways  unlawful,  nor  no  turning 
aside  to  a  covenant  of  works  : 

But  our  justification  and  sanctification  are  both  of  them  benefits  and 
blessings  of  the  covenant  of  grace.     Ergo.  .  .  . 

In  Jer.  xxxiii.  8,  '  I  will  pardon  all  their  iniquity,  whereby  they  have 
sinned  against  me,'  there  is  your  justification ;  '  and  I  will  cleanse  them 
from  all  their  iniquity,  whereby  they  have  sinned  against  me,  there  is 
your  sanctification.  And  therefore  to  evidence  the  one  by  the  other 
can  be  no  ways  unlawful,  nor  no  turning  aside  to  a  covenant  of  works. 

(3.)  Thirdly,  Carry  home  this  with  you,  Whatever  gift  of  God  in  man 
brings  him  within  the  compass  of  God's  promise  of  eternal  mercy,  that 
gift  must  be  an  infallible  evidence  of  salvation  and  happiness. 

1  Grace,  saith  one,  is  the  foundation  of  all  our  felicity,  and  comprehends  all  blessings, 
afi  manna  is  said  to  have  done  all  good  tastes.  John's  epistles  are  a  rich  treasury  for 
Christian  assurance. 

•  Christians  may  doubtless  look  to  their  graces  as  evidences  of  their  part  in  Christ  and 
salvation  ;  and  the  clearer  and  stronger  they  are,  the  greater  will  be  their  comfort ;  but 
not  as  causes. 


90  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

But  such  are  those  gifts  mentioned  in  those  scriptures  that  prove  the 
first  head. 

Therefore  they  are  infalUble  evidences  of  our  salvation  and  eternal 
happiness. 

1  confess  a  man  may  have  many  great  gifts,  and  yet  none  of  them 
bring  him  within  the  compass  of  God's  promise  of  eternal  mercy.  But 
I  say,  whatever  gift  of  God  in  man  brings  him  within  the  compass  of 
God's  promise  of  eternal  mercy,  that  gift  must  be  an  infallible  evidence 
of  his  happiness  and  blessedness.^ 

For  the  further  clearing  of  this,  I  will  instance  in  a  gift  of  waiting. 
Where  this  gift  is,  it  brings  a  man  within  the  compass  of  God's  pro- 
mise of  eternal  mercy.  And  had  a  man,  as  in  a  deserted  state  it  often 
falls  out,  nothing  under  heaven  to  shew  for  his  happiness,  but  only  a 
waiting  frame,  this  ought  to  bear  him  up  from  fainting  and  sinking. 
When  the  soul  saith.  My  sun  is  set,  my  day  is  turned  into  night,  my 
light  into  darkness,  and  my  rejoicing  into  mourning,  &c.,  oh,  I  have 
lost  the  comforting  presence  of  God !  I  have  lost  the  quickening 
presence  of  God !  1  have  lost  the  supporting  presence  of  God  !  I  have 
lost  the  encouraging  presence  of  God !  &c.,  and  when  I  shall  recover 
these  sad  losses,  I  know  not.  All  that  I  can  say  is  this,  that  God  keeps 
me  in  a  waiting  frame,  weeping  and  knocking  at  the  door  of  mercy. 
Now,  I  say,  this  waiting  temper  brings  the  soul  within  the  compass  of 
the  promise  of  eternal  mercy.  And  certainly  such  a  soul  shall  not 
miscarry.     Take  three  promises  for  this. 

In  Isa.  xl.  31,  '  They  that  wait  upon  the  Lord  shall  renew  their 
strength  ;  they  shall  mount  up  with  wings  as  eagles ;  they  shall  run, 
and  not  be  weary ;  and  they  shall  walk,  and  not  faint.'  The  mercy  is 
the  waiting  man's,  but  the  waiting  man  must  give  God  leave  to  time 
his  mercy  for  him.  So  in  Isa.  xxx.  18,  '  And  therefore  will  the  Lord 
wait,  that  he  may  be  gracious  unto  you ;  and  therefore  will  he  be 
exalted,  that  he  may  have  mercy  upon  you :  for  the  Lord  is  a  God  of 
judgment ;  blessed  are  all  they  that  wait  for  him.'  So  in  Isa.  Ixiv.  4, 
'For  since  the  beginning  of  the  world  men  have  not  heard,  nor  perceived 
by  the  ear,  neither  hath  the  eye  seen,  O  God,  besides  thee,  what  he 
hath  prepared  for  him  that  waiteth  for  him.'  So  in  Isa.  xlix.  23,  'They 
shall  not  be  ashamed  that  wait  for  me.'^  Men  are  often  ashamed,  that 
wait  upon  the  mountains  and  hills.  Men  high  and  great  often  frustrate 
the  expectation  of  waiting  souls,  and  then  they  blush,  and  are  ashamed 
and  confounded  that  they  have  waited,  and  been  deceived;  but  'they 
shall  not  be  ashamed  that  wait  for  me,'  says  God ;  I  will  not  deceive 
their  expectation,  and  after  all  their  waiting  turn  them  off,  and  say,  I 
have  no  mercy  for  you.^  Now,  I  say,  where  this  waiting  temper  is, 
which  is  all  that  many  a  poor  soul  hath  to  shew  for  everlastmg  happi- 
ness and  blessedness,  that  soul  shall  never  miscarry.  That  God  that 
doth  maintain  and  uphold  the  soul  in  this  heavenly  waiting  frame,  in 

•  Covet  rather  graces  than  gifts  ;  as  to  pray  more  fervently,  though  less  notionally  or 
eloquently.  Stammering  Moses  must  pray  rather  than  well-spoken  Aaron'.  The  Co- 
riuthians  came  behind  in  no  gift,  1  Cor.  i.  7  ;  yet  were  babes  and  carnal,  chap.  iii.  2,  3. 

2  Vide  Lyra  and  Junius  on  the  words. 

3  That  is,  they  shall  be  advanced  by  me  to  great  happiness  and  glory,  to  great  dignity 
and  felicity  ;  for  in  the  Hebrew  dialect,  adverbs  of  denying  signify  the  contrary  to  the 
import  of  that  verb  whereunto  they  are  joined,  as  might  be  shewed  by  many  scriptures. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  KICHES  OF  CHRIST.  91 

the  appointed  season  will  speak  life  and  love,  mercy  and  glory,  to  the 
waiting  soul. 

And  so  I  have  done  with  the  third  use,  which  was  to  stir  you  up  to 
look  upon  your  graces  with  cautions. 
The  fourth  duty  is  : 

4.  To  persuade  weak  saints  not  to  turn  aside  from  the  ways  of  God, 
nor  from  the  service  of  God,  because  of  any  hardships  or  difficulties 
that  they  meet  ivith  in  his  ways  or  service. 

There  is  a  very  great  aptness  in  weak  saints  to  take  offence  almost 
at  everything,  and  to  be  discouraged  by  the  least  opposition,  affliction, 
and  temptation,  and  so  to  turn  aside  from  the  good  old  way.  Now  that 
no  difficulties  nor  hardships  may  turn  you  out  of  the  way  that  is  called 
hoty,  consider  seriously  of  these  few  things. 

[1.]  First,  Consider  this,  the  Lord  will  sweeten  more  and  more  his 
services  to  you. 

He  will  make  his  work  to  be  more  and  more  easy  to  your  souls  ;  he 
will  suit  thy  burden  to  thy  back,  and  thy  work  to  thy  hand.  0  weak 
sou] !  thou  shalt  find  that  his  grace  will  be  sufficient  to  hold  thee  up 
and  carry  thee  on,  notwithstanding  any  difficulties  or  discouragements 
that  be  in  the  way.  He  will  shed  abroad  that  love  that  shall  constrain 
thy  soul,  both  to  keep  close  to  his  service,  and  to  delight  in  his  service, 
2  Cor.  xii.  9  ;  v.  1 4.  He  will  make  all  his  services  to  be  easy  to  thee  ; 
he  will  vouchsafe  to  thee  that  assisting  grace  that  shall  keep  up  thy 
head  and  heart  from  fainting  and  sinking  under  discouragements,  as 
you  may  see  in  Ezek.  xxxvi.  25-28,  *  And  I  will  put  my  Spirit  within 
you,  and  cause  you  to  walk  in  my  statutes,  and  ye  shall  keep  my  judg- 
ments, and  do  them.'  So  in  Ps.  Ixiii.  8,  *  My  soul  followeth  hard  after 
thee,'  (ay,  but  how  comes  this  to  pass?) :  '  Thy  right  hand  upholds  me.' 
I  feel  thy  hand  under  me,  drawing  of  my  soul  off  after  thee.  Oh  !  were 
not  thy  gracious  hand  under  me,  I  should  never  follow  hard  after  thee. 
The  Lord  will  put  under  his  everlasting  arms,  0  weak  Christian  !'  and 
therefore  though  thy  feet  be  apt  to  slide,  yet  his  everlasting  arms  shall 
bear  thee  up.  Therefore  be  not  discouraged,  do  not  turn  aside  from 
those  paths  that  drop  marrow  and  fatness,  though  there  be  a  lion  in  the 
way.^ 

[2.]  Secondly,  Consider  this,  O  weak  saint !  that  there  is  less  danger 
and  hardship  in  the  ways  of  Christ,  than  there  is  in  the  ways  of  sin, 
Satan,  or  the  world. 

That  soul  doth  but  leap  out  of  the  frying-pan  into  the  fire,  that  thinks 
to  mend  himself  by  turning  out  of  the  way  that  is  called  holy.  Oh  ! 
the  horrid  drudgery  that  is  in  the  ways  of  sin,  Satan,  or  the  world. 
Thy  worst  day  in  Christ's  service  is  better  than  thy  best  days,  if  I  may 
so  speak,  in  sin  or  Satan's  service.  Pro  v.  xi.  18,  19,  and  xxi.  21.  Satan 
will  pay  the  sinner  home  at  last  with  the  loss  of  God,  Christ,  heaven, 
and  his  soul  for  ever.  '  But  in  the  way  of  righteousness  is  life,  joy, 
peace,  honour,  and  in  the  pathway  thereof  there  is  no  death,'  Prov.  xii. 
28.  '  His  ways  are  ways  of  pleasantness,  and  all  his  paths  are 
peace,'  Prov.  iii.  1 7. 

^  The  philosopher  told  his  friends  when  they  came  into  his  little  low  cottage,  The 
o^ods  are  here  with  me.  Surely  God,  and  Christ,  and  the  Spirit  are,  and  will  be,  with 
weak  saints,  to  aid  and  assist  them  in  every  gracious  work. 


92  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EpH.  III.  8. 

[3.]  Thirdly,  Remember,  O  weak  saint !  that  all  those  hardships 
that  thou  meetest  with,  do  only  reach  the  outward  man. 

They  only  reach  the  ignoble,  the  baser  part  of  man  ;  they  meddle  not, 
they  touch  not,  the  noble  part.  '  With  my  mind  I  serve  the  law  of  God, 
though  with  my  flesh  the  law  of  sin,'  Rom.  vii.  22.  And  verse  25,  *  I 
delight  in  the  law  of  God,  after  the  inward  man.'  And  indeed  many 
of  the  heathen  have  encouraged  themselves  in  this  very  consideration, 
against  the  troubles  and  dangers  of  this  life.^  All  the  arrows  that  are 
shot  at  a  Christian  stick  in  his  buckler,  they  never  reach  his  conscience, 
his  soul.  The  raging  waves  beat  sorely  against  Noah's  ark,  but  they 
touched  not  him.  The  soul  is  of  too  noble  a  nature  to  be  touched  by 
troubles.  Jacob's  hard  service  under  Laban,  and  his  being  nipped  by 
the  frost  in  winter,  and  scorched  by  the  sun  in  summer,  did  oniy  reach 
his  outward  man ;  his  soul  had  high  communion,  and  swest  fellowship 
with  God,  under  all  his  hardships.  Gen.  xxxi.  40.  Ah,  ChrisCian  !  bear 
up  bravely,  for  whatever  hardships  thou  meetest  with  in  the  ways  of 
God,  shall  only  reach  thy  outward  man  ;  and  under  all  these  hardships 
thou  mayest  have  as  high  and  sweet  communion  with  v.od,  as  if  thou 
hadst  never  known  what  hardships  meant,  Hosea  ii.  14. 

[4.]  Fourthly,  Tell  me,  0  lueak  saints !  hive  not  you  formerly  en- 
joyed such  sweet  refreshings  while  you  have  leen  in  the  very  service  of 
God,  as  hath  outweighed  all  the  troubles  and.  hardships  thai  your  souls 
have  met  with  1  I  know  you  have  and  you  know  that  you  have  often 
found  that  scripture  made  good  "pon  your  hearts,  Ps.  xix.  11,  'More- 
over, by  them  is  thy  servant  warned,  and  in  keeping  of  them  there  is 
great  reward.'  Mark,  he  doth  not  say,  'for  keeping  of  them  there  is 
great  reward,'  though  that  is  a  truth  ;  but,  '  in  keeping  of  them  there 
is  great  reward.  While  the  soul  is  at  work,  God  throws  in  the  reward. 
Do  not  yon  remember,  0  weak  Christians  !  when  you  have  been  in  the 
service  and  way  of  God,  how  he  hath  cast  in  joy  at  one  time  and  peace 
at  another  i  &c.  Oh  !  the  smiles,  the  kisses,  the  sweet  discoveries  that 
your  souls  have  met  with,  whilst  you  have  been  in  his  ways.  Ah,  poor 
souls  !  do  not  you  know  that  one  hour's  being  in  the  bosom  cf  Christ  will 
make  you  forget  all  your  hardships  ?  Heaven  at  last  will  make  amends 
'  for  all ;  and  the  more  hardships  you  find  in  the  ways  of  God,  the  more 
sweet  will  heaven  be  to  you  when  you  come  there.^  Oh,  how  sweet  is 
a  harbour  after  a  long  storm,  and  a  sunshine  day  after  a  dark  and  tem- 
pestuous night,  and  a  warm  spring  after  a  sharp  winter  I  The  miseries 
and  difficulties  that  a  man  meets  with  in  this  world,  will  exceedingly 
sweeten  the  glory  of  that  other  world. 

[5.J  Lastly,  consider.  What  hardships  and  difficidties  the  men  of 
this  world  run  through,  to  get  the  world,  and  undo  their  oiun  souls. 

They  rise  early,  go  to  bed  late ;  they  go  from  one  end  of  the  world  to 
another,  and  venture  through  all  manner  of  dangers,  deaths,  and  miser- 
ies, to  gain  those  things  that  are  vain,  uncertain,  vexing,  and  dangerous 
to  their  souls,  Ps.  cxxvii.  2,  Mat.  xvi.  \6.  And  wilt  not  thou,  as  '  a  good 
soldier  of  Christ,'  2  Tim.  ii.  3,  4,  endure  a  little  hardship  for  the  honour 
of  thy  Captain,  and  thine  own  internal  and  eternal  good  ?     Thou  art 

*  Anaxagoras,  Plato,  and  others. 

•  Austin  saith,  If  a  man  should  serve  the  Lord  a  thousand  years,  it  would  not  deserve 
an  hour  of  the  reward  in  heaven,  much  less  an  eternity,  &c. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  93 

listed  under  Christ's  colours,  and  therefore  thou  must  arm  thyself  against 
all  difficulties  and  discouragements.  The  number  of  difficulties  makes 
the  Christian's  conquest  the  more  illustrious.  A  gracious  man  should 
be  made  up  all  of  fire,  overcoming  and  consuming  all  oppositions,  as  fire 
does  the  stubble.  All  difficulties  should  be  but  whetstones  to  his  for- 
titude, as  Chrysostom  said  of  Peter. 
The  fifth  duty  is  this : 

5.   You  that  ewe  weak  saints  should  observe  how  Christ  Jceeps  your 
wills  and  affections. 

That  man  is  kept  indeed,  whose  will  and  affection  is  kept  close  to 
Christ ;  and  that  man  is  lost  with  a  witness,  whose  will  and  affections 
are  won  from  Christ.  Weak  saints  are  more  apt  to  observe  their  own 
actions  than  their  wills  and  affections,  and  this  proves  a  snare  unto 
them  ;  therefore  observe  your  affections,  how  they  are  kept ;  for  if  they 
are  kept  close  to  Christ,  if  they  are  kept  faithful  to  Christ,  though  thy 
foot  may  slide  from  Christ,  all  is  well.  The  apostle,  Rom.  vii.  17,  seq., 
observed,  that  his  will  and  affections  were  kept  close  to  Christ  even 
then,  w^hen  he  was  tyrannically  captivated  and  carried  by  the  preva- 
lency  of  sin  from  Christ :  '  With  my  mind  I  serve  the  law  of  God,'  says 
he,  '  and  what  I  do  I  allow  not ;  therefore  it  is  no  more  I  that  doth  it, 
but  sin  that  dwelleth  in  me.'  My  will  stands  close  to  Christ,  and  my 
affections  are  faithful  to  Christ,  though  by  the  prevalency  of  corruption 
1  am  now  and  then  carried  captive  from  Christ.  It  is  one  thing  to  be 
taken  up  by  an  enemy,  and  another  thing  for  a  man  to  lay  down  his 
weapons  at  his  enemy's  feet.  I  am,  saith  the  apostle,  a  forced  man,  '  I 
do  what  I  hate  ;'  I  do  what  I  never  intended.  The  heart  may  be  sound, 
when  more  external  and  inferior  parts  are  not.  The  heart  of  a  man 
may  be  sound  God-ward  and  Christ-ward  and  holiness- ward,  when  yet 
there  may  be  many  defects  and  weaknesses  in  his  conversation.  Now, 
a  w^eak  Christian  should  be  very  studious  to  observe  how  his  heart  stands 
God-v/ards  ;  for  the  man  is  as  his  heart  is  ;  if  that  be  right  with  Christ, 
then  all  is  well ;  therefore,  says  Solomon,  Prov.  iv.  23,  '  Keep  thy  heart 
with  all  diligence,  for  out  of  it  are  the  issues  of  life.'  The  Hebrew  runs 
more  fully  thus  :  '  Before  all,'  or,  '  Above  all  keepings,  keep  thy  heart ;' 
for  out  of  it  is  the  goings  forth  of  lives/  The  heart  is  the  spring  and 
fountain  of  all  natural  and  spiritual  actions,  it  is  the  primum  mobile, 
the  great  wheel  that  sets  all  other  wheels  agoing;  it  is  th^  great 
monarch  in  the  isle  of  man ;  therefore  keep  it  with  all  custody  and 
caution,  or  else  bid  farewell  to  all  true  joy,  peace,  and  comfort.  When 
the  heart  stands  right  towards  Christ,  Christ  will  pardon  much,  and 
pass  by  much.^ 

If  the  ravished  virgin  in  the  time  of  the  law  cried  out,  she  was  guilt- 
less ;  so  when  a  poor  soul,  ravished  by  the  power  of  corruption,  and 
strength  of  Satan's  temptations,  cries  out,  '  Lord,  I  would  not,  for  all 
the  world,  sin  against  thee,  I  would  not  distrust  thee,  I  would  not  be 
impatient  under  thy  afflicting  hand,  I  would  not  be  proud  under  thy 
merciful  hand ;  but,  Lord,  these  sons  of  Zeruiah,  2  Sam.  iii.  39,  these 
corruptions,  are  too  hard  for  me;  they  commit  a  rape  upon  me;  they 
ravish  me  of  my  Jesus,  and  of  my  joy,  and  of  my  peace;  Lord,  help  me, 
Lord  deliver  me!'  now  these  weaknesses  shall  not  be  chai-gcd  upon 
^  The  heart  is  camera  omntpotentis  regis,  the  presence-chamber  of  the  king  cf  heaven. 


94?  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  Ill  8. 

the  soul.  The  ravished  virgin  under  the  law,  if  she  cried  out,  was  guilt- 
less ;  and  certainly  God  is  not,  nor  will  not  be,  less  merciful  and  gracious 
to  his  people  under  the  gospel,  who  are  still  a-crying  out  against  their 
sins  and  Satan's  assaults.  Surely  those  sins  shall  never  be  a  Christian's 
bane,  that  are  now  his  greatest  burden.  It  is  not  falling  into  the  water, 
but  lying  in  the  water,  that  drowns.  It  is  not  falling  into  sin,  but  lying 
in  sin,  that  damns.  If  sin  and  thy  heart  be  two,  Christ  and  thy  heart 
are  one.  If  thy  heart  be  Christ  ward,  thou  art  so  happy  that  nothing 
can  make  thee  miserable. 

6.  Sixthly,  Take  heed  of  making  sense  and  feeling  a  judge  of  your 
condition.  Though  there  is  nothing  more  dangerous,  yet  there  is  nothing 
more  ordinary,  than  for  weak  saints  to  make  their  sense  and  feeling  the 
judge  of  their  condition.  Ah,  poor  souls  !  this  is  dishonourable  to  God, 
and  very  disadvantageous  to  yourselves.  Sense  is  sometimes  opposite  to 
reason,  but  always  to  faith  ;  therefore  do  as  those  worthies  did^  2  Cor. 
V.  8,  9,  *  We  walk  by  faith,  and  not  by  sight.'^  For  a  man  to  argue 
thus :  Surely  God  is  not  my  God,  for  I  am  not  enlightened,  I  am  not 
quickened,  I  am  not  melted,  I  am  not  raised,  I  am  not  enlarged  as  for- 
merly. Oh !  I  have  not  those  sweet  answers  and  returns  of  prayer  that 
once  I  had!  Oh!  I  cannot  find  the  Lord's  quickening  presence,  nor 
his  enlivening  presence,  nor  his  humbling  presence,  nor  his  encouraging 
presence,  as  once  I  have ;  therefore  surely  my  condition  is  not  good. 
Oh !  I  am  more  backward  to  good  than  formerly,  and  more  prone  to 
evil  than  formerly,  therefore  I  am  afraid  that  God  is  not  my  God,  and 
that  the  work  of  grace  is  not  thorough  upon  me.  Oh  !  God  does  not 
look  upon  me  as  in  the  days  of  old,  nor  speak  to  me  as  in  the  days  of 
old,  nor  carry  it  towards  me  as  in  the  days  of  old,  and  therefore  I  am 
afraid  that  all  is  naught. 

Yerily,  if  you  will  make  sense  and  feeling  the  judge  of  your  estate 
and  condition,  you  will  never  have  peace  nor  comfort  all  your  days. 
Thy  estate,  O  Christian,  may  be  very  good,  when  sense  and  feeling 
says  it  is  very  bad.  That  child  cannot  but  be  perplexed  that  thinks  his 
father  doth  not  love  him,  because  he  does  not  always  feel  him  smooth- 
ing and  stroking  of  him.  Christians,  you  must  remember  that  it  is  one 
thing  for  God  to  love  you,  and  another  thing  for  God  to  tell  you  that  he 
loves  you.  Your  happiness  lies  in  the  first,  your  comfort  in  the  second. 
God  hath  stopped  his  ear  against  the  prayers  of  many  a  precious  soul 
whom  he  hath  dearly  loved.^  The  best  of  men  have  at  times  lost  that 
quickening,  ravishing,  and  comforting  presence  of  God  that  once  they 
have  enjoyed.  And  verily,  he  that  makes  sense  and  carnal  reason  a 
judge  of  his  condition,  shall  be  happy  and  miserable,  blessed  and  cursed, 
saved  and  lost,  many  times  in  a  day,  yea,  in  an  hour.  The  counsel  that 
I  would  give  to  such  a  soul  that  is  apt  to  set  up  reason  in  the  room  of 
faith  is  this.  Whatsoever  thy  estate  and  condition  be,  never  make  sense 
and  feeling  the  judge  of  it,  but  only  the  word  of  God.  Did  ever  God 
appoint  carnal  reason,  sense,  and  feeling,  to  be  a  judge  of  thy  spiritual 
estate?     Surely  no.     And  why,  then,  wilt  thou  subject  thy  soul  to 

1  Sense  and  reason  in  spiritual  things,  says  Tjuther,  is  noxia  hestia,  an  harmful  beast, 
that  will  destroy  and  pull  down  what  faith  builds  up. 

2  Ps.  Ixxx.  4  ;  Lam.  iii.  34  ;  Ps.  cxix.  25,  37,  40,  88,  107,  149,  154,  156,  159  ;  xlii.  5  ; 
Cant.  iii.  1-3  ;  Isa.  iiv.  7,  8. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  95 

their  judgments  ?  God  will  judge  thee  at  last  by  his  word  :  John  xii. 
48,  *  The  word  that  I  have  spoken,  the  same  shall  judge  you  in  the  last 
day/  Carnal  reason  is  an  enemy  to  faith ;  it  is  still  a-crossing  and  con- 
tradicting of  faith;  it  fills  the  mind  full  of  cavils  and  prejudices,  full  of 
pleas  and  arguments,  to  keep  Christ  and  the  soul  asunder,  and  the  soul 
and  the  promises  asunder,  and  the  soul  and  peace  and  comfort  asunder. 
It  will  never  be  well  with  thee  so  long  as  thou  art  swayed  by  carnal 
reason,  and  reliest  more  upon  thy  five  senses  than  the  four  evangelists. 
Remember  Job  was  as  famous  for  his  confidence  as  for  his  patience : 
*  Though  he  slay  me,  yet  will  I  trust  in  him,'  Job  xiii.  15.  As  the  body 
lives  by  breathing,  so  the  soul  lives  by  believing,  &c. 

IV.  The  duties  of  strong  saints  to  the  weak. 

We  come  now  to  the  last  thing  propounded,  and  that  is,  the  duties 
of  strong  saints  to  those  that  are  tueak.  I  intend  at  this  time  to  finish 
this  point,  and  therefore  shall  not  speak  everything  that  might  be 
spoken,  being  not  of  their  minds  that  think  a  man  never  speaks  enough 
that  speaks  not  all  that  may  be  spoken  to  an  argument.  I  shall,  as 
near  as  I  can,  instance  in  those  duties  that  are  most  weighty  and 
worthy.  And  surely  those  souls  that  are  serious  and  conscientious  in 
the  discharge  of  these,  cannot,  nor  will  not,  be  negligent  in  the  dis- 
charge of  the  rest.  Now  there  are  eleven  duties  that  strong  saints  are 
to  perform  to  those  that  are  weak. 

And  the  j^rs^  is  this. 

[1.]  Those  that  are  strong  ought  to  bear  with  the  infirmities  of  the 
vjeak. 

Rom.  XV.  1,  '  We  then  that  are  strong,'  saith  the  apostle,  '  ought  to 
bear  with  the  infirmities  of  the  weak,  and  not  to  please  ourselves.' 
The  word  that  is  rendered  to  hear  signifies  to  bear  as  pillars  do  bear 
the  weight  and  burden  of  the  house  ;  to  bear  as  porters  do  bear  their 
burdens,  or  as  the  bones  do  bear  the  flesli,  or  rather  as  parents  bear 
their  babes  in  their  arms. 

'  Bear  the  infirmities.^  Mark,  he  doth  not  say  the  enormities,  but 
the  infirmities ;  he  doth  not  say  the  wickedness,  but  the  weakness. 
The  strong  ought  to  bear  with  the  infirmities  of  the  weak.  The  Lord 
bears  with  the  weakness  of  his  children.  Peter  is  weak,  and  sinful 
through  weakness ;  he  will  not  let  the  Lord  Jesus  wash  his  feet,  John 
xiii. ;  but  the  Lord  Jesus  knowing  that  this  was  from  weakness,  and  not 
from  wickedness,  he  passes  it  over,  and  notwithstanding  his  unkind 
refusal,  he  washes  his  feet.  Thomas  is  very  weak :  *  I  will  not  believe,' 
says  he,  '  except  I  shall  see  in  his  hands  the  print  of  the  nails,  and 
thrust  my  hand  into  his  side,'  John  xx.  25.  Now  this  Christ  bears  with 
much  tenderness  and  sweetness,  as  you  may  see  in  ver.  27,  '  Then  said 
he  to  Thomas,  Reach  hither  thy  fingers,  and  behold  my  hands,  and  reach 
hither  thy  hand,  and  thrust  it  into  my  side,  and  be  not  faithless,  but 
believing.'  The  Lord  Jesus  doth,  as  it  were,  open  his  wounds  afresh  ; 
he  overlooks  his  weakness.  Well,  saith  he,  seeing  it  is  so  that  thou 
wilt  not  believe,  I  will  rather  bleed  afresh  than  thou  shalt  die  in  thy 
unbelief  So  the  three  disciples  that  Christ  had  singled  out  to  watch 
with  him  one  liour.  Mat.  xxvi.,  they  shewed  a  great  deal  of  weakness 
to  be  sleeping  when  their  Lord  was  a-sorrowing,  to  be  snorting  when 


96  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

their  Saviour  was  sighing,  &c.  Yet  Christ  bears  this,  and  carries  it 
sweetly  towards  them,  and  excuses  their  weakness :  ver.  41,  'The  spirit 
is  willing,  but  the  flesh  is  weak/  Oh  how  sweetly  doth  the  Lord  carry 
it !  Every  new  man  is  two  men ;  he  hath  a  contrary  principle  in  him, 
the  flesh  and  the  spirit.  The  spirit,  the  noble  part,  is  willing,  but  the 
flesh,  the  ignoble  part,  is  weak  and  wayward. 

Now  shall  the  Lord  thus  bear  with  his  weak  ones,  and  shall  not  strong 
saints  bear  also  ?  Remember,  strong  Christians,  there  was  a  day  when 
you  were  as  weak  as  others,  as  apt  to  fall  as  others,  as  easily  conquered 
as  others  ;  and  if  then  the  Lord  carried  it  sweetly  towards  you,  let  the 
same  spirit  be  in  you  towards  those  that  are  weak.  It  will  be  no  grief 
of  heart  to  you,  if  in  this  you  act  like  your  Lord  and  Saviour. 

If  you  do  not  bear  with  the  infirmities  of  the  weak,  who  shall  ?  who 
will?  This  wicked  world  cannot,  nor  will  not.  The  world  will  make 
them  transgressors  for  a  word,  and  watch  for  their  halting ;  and  there- 
fore you  had  need  to  bear  with  them  so  much  the  more,  Isa.  xxix.  21, 
Jer.  XX.  10.     The  world's  cruelty  should  stir  up  your  compassions. 

[2.]  Secondly,  As  it  is  your  duty  to  hear  with  them,  so  it  is  your 
duty  to  receive  them  into  communion  with  you. 

Rom.  xiv.  1,  '  Him  that  is  weak  in  the  faith  receive  you,  but  not  to 
doubtfiil  disputations.' 

*  Him  that  is  weak  in  the  faith  receive'  that  is,  him  that  is  not 
thoroughly  persuaded  of  all  things  pertaining  to  Christian  liberty,  about 
things  indifferent.  '  Them  that  are  weak  in  the  faith  receive  ; '  he  doth 
not  say,  '  Them  that  have  no  faith  receive.'  For  there  is  no  rule  for  the 
saints  or  churches  to  receive  them  into  communion  that  have  no  faith, 
that  have  no  fellowship  with  the  Father  and  the  Son.  But  '  him  that 
is  weak  in  the  faith/  saith  he,  *  receive.' 

The  word  that  is  here  rendered  receive,  signifies  to  receive  into 
our  bosom  with  charitable  affection.  The  Greek  word  signifies  three 
things. 

(1.)  It  signifies  to  receive  weak  saints  as  our  own  bowels  ;  to  receive 
them  with  the  greatest  tenderness,  affection,  pity,  and  compassion  that 
possibly  can  be.  So  the  same  Greek  word  is  used  in  the  Epistle  of 
Philemon,  ver,  12,  where  Paul  entreats  Philemon  '  to  receive  Onesimus 
as  his  own  bowels.'  The  word  there  is  the  same  word  with  this  in  the 
text.  So  must  the  strong  receive  the  weak,  even  as  their  own  bowels  ; 
receive  them  with  the  greatest  affection,  with  the  greatest  compassion 
that  possibly  can  be. 

(2.)  The  word  signifies  patiently  to  hear  with  the  weak  when  they 
are  received;  and  not  to  take  them  into  your  bosom,  into  your  com- 
munion one  day  and  cast  them  out  the  next,  but  patiently  to  bear  with 
them,  as  well  as  affectionately  to  receive  them. 

It  was  a  heathen  prince  [Xerxes]  that  crowned  his  steersman  in  the 
morning,  and  beheaded  him  in  the  evening  of  the  same  day,  &c. 

(3.)  The  word  signifies  hy  fatherly  instruction  to  seek  to  restore  him. 
It  is  not  the  will  of  Christ  that  weak  saints  should  be  rejected,  or  that  the 
door  of  entrance  should  be  shut  against  them,  till  they  are  stronger,  or 
till  they  have  attained  to  such  heights  and  such  perfections  of  grace 
and  divine  enjoyments  of  God  as  others  have  attained.  Remember 
this,  as  the  weakest  faith,  if  true,  gives  the  soul  a  right  to  all  that 


EpH.  hi.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  97 

that  internal  and  eternal  worth  that  is  in  Christ :  so  the  weakest  faith,  if 
true,  gives  a  man  a  real  right  unto  all  the  external  privileges  and 
favours  that  come  by  Christ.  In  Rom.  xv.  7,  '  Wherefore  receive  ye 
one  another,  as  Christ  also  received  us  to  the  glory  of  God.'  This  is 
the  standing  rule  for  all  the  saints  and  churches  in  the  world  to  go  by. 
It  is  not  their  wills,  but  these  two  scriptures  last  cited,  that  are  the 
standing  rules  by  which  all  the  churches  on  earth  are  to  go  by,  in  the 
admission  of  members. 

'  Them  that  are  weak  in  the  faith '  are  to  be  received  by  you,  be- 
cause the  Lord  Jesus  hath  received  them.  Christ  does  not  receive  the 
strong  to  the  glory  of  God,  and  cast  off  the  weak.  No  ;  the  Lord  Jesus 
gathers  the  weak  into  his  bosom,  and  tenderly  dandles  them  upon  his 
knee.  He  receives  the  weak  to  glory,  as  well  as  the  strong ;  therefore 
saith  the  apostle,  '  As  the  Lord  hath  received  them,  so  do  you.' 

Bucer  rejected  none  in  whom  he  saw  aliquid  Christi,  anything  of 
Christ,  but  gave  them  the  right  hand  of  fellowship.  Such  persons  and 
churches  can  never  answer  it  to  Christ,  that  keep  the  door  of  admission 
shut  against  souls  truly  gracious,  though  they  are  bub  weak  in  grace, 
though  they  have  [not]  attained  to  such  a  measure  of  light,  or  degrees 
of  love,  or  to  such  perfections  in  holiness,  as  such  and  such  have  done. 
No  ;  the  standing  rule  is,  '  Him  whom  the  Lord  hath  received,  receive.' 

If  weak  saints  shall  desire  communion,  and  be  willing  to  walk  in  the 
ways  that  Jesus  Christ  hath  appointed  his  saints  to  walk  in,  the 
churches  ought  to  give  them  the  right  hand  of  fellowship.  And  that  is 
the  second  duty  that  lies  upon  the  strong,  viz.,  that  they  are  to  receive 
the  weak  into  communion  and  fellowship  with  them,  and  that  with  the 
greatest  affection,  love,  and  compassion,  that  possibly  can  be. 

A  third  duty  that  lies  upon  strong  saints  to  the  weak  is  this  : 

[3.]  They  must  look  more  upon  their  graces  than  upon  their  weak- 
nesses. 

It  is  a  sad  thing  when  they  shall  borrow  spectacles  to  behold  their 
weak  brethren's  weaknesses,  and  refuse  looking-glasses  wherein  they  may 
see  their  weak  brethren's  graces.  Saints  that  are  strong  ought  to  look 
more  upon  the  virtues  of  weak  saints  than  upon  their  miscarriages. 
When  Christ  saw  but  a  little  moral  good  in  the  young  man,  the  text 
saith  that  '  He  looked  upon  him,  and  loved  him,'  Mark  x.  12.  And 
shall  not  we  look  upon  a  weak  saint  and  love  him,  when  we  see  the  love 
of  God  and  the  image  of  God  upon  him.  Shall  moral  virtue  take  the 
eye,  and  draw  the  love  of  Christ  ?  And  shall  not  supernatural  grace  in 
a  weak  Christian  take  our  eyes  and  draw  our  hearts  ?  Shall  we  eye  a 
little  gold  in  much  earth  ?  And  shall  we  not  eye  a  little  grace  where 
there  is  much  corruption  ?  ^ 

It  is  an  unsufferable  weakness,  I  had  almost  said,  for  persons  to 
suffer  their  affections  to  run  out  only  to  such  that  are  of  their  judg- 
ments, and  to  love,  prize,  and  value  persons  according  as  they  suit  their 
opinions,  and  not  according  to  what  of  the  image  of  God  shines  in  them. 
But  if  this  be  not  far  from  a  gospel  spirit,  and  from  that  God-like  spirit 

1  Tf  moral  virtue  conld  be  seen  with  mortal  eyes,  it  would  soon  draw  all  hearts  to  it- 
self, saith  Plato.  What,  then,  should  grace  do  ?  the  least  dram  of  which  is  of  more  worth 
than  all  the  moral  virtues  in  the  world. 

VOL.  III.  ,  G 


98  THE  UNSEAECHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

that  should  be  in  saints,  I  know  nothing.  It  speaks  out  much  of  Christ 
within,  to  own  where  Christ  owns,  and  love  where  Christ  loves,  and 
embrace  where  Christ  embraces,  and  to  be  one  with  every  one  that  is 
practically  one  with  the  Lord  Jesus.  Christ  cannot  but  take  it  very 
unkindly  at  our  hands,  if  we  should  disown  any  upon  whom  he  hath  set 
his  royal  stamp.  And  I  bless  his  grace  that  hath  drawn  out  my  desires 
and  endeavours  to  love,  own,  and  honour  the  people  of  Christ,  according 
to  what  of  the  appearances  of  Christ  I  see  in  them.  And,  if  I  am  not 
much  mistaken,  this  is  the  highway  to  that  joy,  peace,  and  comfort,  the 
want  of  which  makes  a  man's  life  a  hell.  God  looks  more  on  the 
bright  side  of  the  cloud,  than  he  doth  on  the  dark,  and  so  should  we. 

It  was  the  honour  of  Vespasian  that  *  he  was  more  ready  to  conceal 
the  vices  of  his  friends,  than  their  virtues.'  Surely  there  is  much  of 
God  in  that  soul,  that  is  upon  a  gospel  account  more  careful  and  skilful 
to  conceal  the  vices  of  weak  saints,  than  their  virtues.  Many  in  these 
days  do  justly  incur  the  censure  which  that  sour  philosopher  passed  upon 
grammarians,  that  'they  were  better  acquainted  with  the  evil  of 
Ulysses,  than  with  their  own.'  ^ 

[4.]  Fourthly,  It  is  the  duty  of  strong  saints^  in  things  indifferent 
to  deny  themselves,  to  please  the  weak. 

1  Cor.  viii.  18,  '  Wherefore,  if  meat  make  my  brother  to  offend,  I  will 
eat  no  flesh  while  the  world  standeth,  lest  I  make  my  brother  to  offend.' 
Strong  saints  must  stand  unchangeably  resolved  neither  to  give  offence 
carelessly,  nor  to  take  offence  causelessly.  Says  the  apostle,  I  will  not 
stand  to  dispute  my  Christian  liberty,  but  will  rather  lay  it  down  at 
my  weak  brother's  feet,  than  I  will  by  the  use  of  it  offend  one  for 
whom  Christ  hath  died.  1  Cor.  ix.  22,  '  To  the  weak  became  I  as  weak, 
that  I  might  gain  the  weak.  I  am  made  all  things  to  all  men,  that 
I  might  by  all  means  save  some.'  That  is,  I  condescended  and  went 
to  the  uttermost  that  possibly  I  could,  without  sin,  to  win  and  gain 
upon  the  weak  ;  I  displeased  myself  in  things  that  were  of  an  indif- 
ferent nature,  to  please  them.  Thou  oughtest  not,  O  strong  Christian, 
by  the  use  of  thy  Christian  liberty,  to  put  a  stumbling-block  before  thy 
weak  brother.  Rom.  xv.  2,  '  We  then  that  are  strong,  ought  to  bear 
with  the  infirmities  of  the  weak,  and  not  to  please  ourselves.  Let 
every  one  of  us  please  his  neighbour  for  his  good  to  edification.'  He 
doth  not  say.  Let  every  one  of  us  please  the  lust  of  his  neighbour,  but 
let  every  one  of  us  please  his  neighbour  for  his  good  to  edification.  Let 
us  in  things  of  an  indifferent  nature  so  yield  as  to  please  our  neighbour. 
There  were  some  thought  that  they  might  observe  days ;  others  thought 
they  might  not.  Some  thought  they  might  eat  meat ;  others  thought 
they  might  only  eat  herbs.  Why,  saith  the  apostle,  in  these  things 
that  are  of  an  indifferent  nature,  I  will  rather  displease  and  deny  myself, 
to  profit  my  neighbour,  than  I  will,  by  the  use  of  my  liberty,  occasion 
my  neighbour  to  offend.  Ay,  this  is  true  Christian  love  indeed,  for  a 
man  to  cross  himself  to  please  his  neighbour,  so  it  may  be  for  his  soul's 
edification.  But  this  heavenly  love  is  driven  almost  out  of  the  world, 
which  causeth  men  to  dislike  those  things  in  others  which  they  flatter 
in  themselves. 

A  fifth  duty  incumbent  upon  strong  saints  is, 

^  Diogenes  apud  Laertium,  lib.  vi. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  99 

[5.]  To  support  the  weak. 

]  Thes.  V.  14,  'Support  the  weak,  be  patient  towards  all  men/  Look, 
what  the  crutch  is  to  the  lame,  and  the  beam  of  the  house  is  to  the 
ruinated  house,  that  ought  strong  saints  to  be  to  the  weak.  Strong 
saints  are  to  be  crutches  to  the  weak,  they  are  to  be,  as  it  were,  beams 
to  bear  up  the  weak.  Strong  saints  are  to  set  to  their  shoulder,  to 
shore  up  the  weak  by  their  counsels,  prayers,  tears,  and  examples. 
Strong  saints  must  not  deal  by  the  weak,  as  the  herd  of  deer  do  by  the 
wounded  deer ;  they  forsake  it  and  push  it  away.  Oh  no  !  When  a 
poor  weak  saint  is  wounded  by  a  temptation,  or  by  the  power  of  some 
corruption,  then  they  that  are  strong  ought  to  succour  and  support 
such  an  one,  lest  he  be  swallowed  up  of  sorrow.  When  you  that  are 
strong  see  a  weak  saint  staggering  and  reeling  under  a  temptation  or 
affliction.  Oh,  know  it  is  then  your  duty  to  put  both  your  hands  under- 
neath, to  support  him  that  he  faint  not,  that  he  miscarries  not  in  such 
an  hour.  Isa.  xxxv.  3,  'Strengthen  ye  the  weak  hands,  and  confirm  the 
feeble  knees.'^ 

'  Strengthen  the  weak  hands,'  that  is,  hands  that  hang  down  ;  '  and 
confirm  the  feeble  knees,'  that  is,  such  knees  that  by  reason  of  feebleness 
are  ready  to  fall.  Strengthen  such,  that  is,  encourage  them,  by  casting 
in  a  promise,  by  casting  in  thy  experiences,  or  by  casting  in  the  expe- 
riences of  other  saints,  that  so  they  may  be  supported.  It  may  be  his 
case  was  once  thine  :  if  so,  then  tell  him  what  promises  did  support  thee, 
what  discoveries  of  God  did  uphold  thee  ;  tell  him  what  tastes,  what 
sights,  and  what  in-comes  thou  hadst,  and  how  bravely  thou  didst  bear 
up,  by  the  strength  of  his  everlasting  arms  that  were  under  thee,  &c.^ 

A  sixth  duty  that  is  incumbent  upon  strong  saints  is, 

[6.]  To  take  heed  ofTnaking  weak  saints  halt  and  go  lame  in  a  way 
of  holiness,  or  of  keeping  them,  off  from,  the  ways  of  God,  or  of  turning 
them  out  of  the  ways  of  God. 

That  is  the  meaning  of  that  scripture,  as  I  conceive,  Luke  xvii.  2. 
And  of  that.  Mat.  xviii.  ]0,  'Take  heed  that  ye  offend  not  one  of  these 
little  ones,  for  their  angels  do  always  behold  the  face  of  my  Father/ 
You  are  apt  to  slight  them  because  they  are  weak  in  grace  and  holiness, 
and  so  you  are  apt  to  cause  them  to  halt ;  but  take  heed  of  this,  they 
have  glistering  courtiers  that  do  attend  them  ;  therefore  take  heed 
that  you  do  not  offend  them,  for  their  angels,  as  so  many  champions, 
stand  ready  to  right  them  and  fight  for  them.  A  man  were  better 
offend  and  anger  all  the  devils  in  hell,  and  all  the  witches  in  the  world, 
than  to  anger  and  offend  the  least  of  Christ's  little  ones.  If  Cain  do 
but  lower  upon  Abel,  God  will  arraign  him  for  it :  '  Why  is  thy  counte- 
nance cast  down  T  Gen.  iv.  6.  If  Miriam  do  but  mutter  against  Moses, 
God  will  spit  in  her  face  for  it.  Num.  xii.  14.  That  is  a  very  dreadful 
word.  Mat.  xviii.  6,  'Take  heed  how  ye  offend  one  of  these  little  ones ;' 
you  make  nothing  of  it,  but  saith  Christ,  take  heed,  'for  it  were  better 
that  a  millstone,'  a  huge  millstone,  as  the  Greek  word  signifies,  such  a 
one  as  an  ass  can  but  turn  about ;  (this  kind  of  punishment  the  greatest 

^  Look,  what  the  nurse  is  to  the  child,  the  oat  to  the  ivy,  the  honse  to  the  vine  ;  that 
should  strong  saints  be  to  the  weak,  &c.,  2  Cor.  ii.  7, 

2  For  a  fine  example  of  this,  adduced  elsewhere  by  Brooks,  see  Index  under  Throg- 
morton — G. 


100  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

malefactors  among  the  Jews  were  put  to  in  those  days,  saith  Jerome), 
'  and  cast  into  the  middle  of  the  sea ;'  so  it  is  word  for  word  in  the 
Greek,  the  middle  being  deepest  and  furthest  off  from  the  shore,  ren- 
dering his  estate  most  miserable  and  irrecoverable. 

[7.]  Seventhly,  It  is  the  duty  of  strong  saints  to  suit  all  things  to 
the  capacity  of  the  weak. 

To  suit  all  their  prayers  and  all  their  discourses  to  the  capacity  of 
the  weak.  Paul  was  good  at  this  :  '  To  the  weak  became  I  as  weak.' 
Paul  was  a  man  as  strong  in  natural  and  acquired  parts  as  any  living, 
and  he  knew  how  to  word  it,  and  to  carry  it  in  as  lofty  strains,  as  any 
that  breathed,  yet  who  more  plain  in  his  preaching  than  Paul  ?  It 
hath  many  a  time  made  my  heart  sad,  to  think  how  those  men  will 
answer  it  in  the  day  of  Christ,  that  affect  lofty  strains,  high  notions,  and 
cloudy  expressions,  that  make  the  plain  things  of  the  gospel  dark  and 
obscure. 

Many  preachers  in  our  days  are  like  Heraclitus,  who  was  called  '  the 
dark  doctor;'  they  affect  sublime  notions,  obscure  expressions,  uncouth 
phrases,  making  plain  truths  difficult,  and  easy  truths  hard.  '  They 
darken  counsel  with  words  without  knowledge,'  Job  xxxviii.  2.  Studied 
expressions  and  high  notions  in  a  sermon,  are  like  Asahel's  carcase 
in  the  way,  that  did  only  stop  men  and  make  them  gaze,  but  did  no 
ways  profit  them  or  better  them.  It  is  better  to  present  truth  in  her 
native  plainness,  than  to  hang  her  ears  with  counterfeit  pearls. 

That  is  a  remarkable  scripture,  1  Cor.  iii.  1,  2,  '  And  I,  brethren,  could 
not  speak  unto  you  as  unto  spiritual,  but  as  unto  carnal,  even  as  unto 
babes  in  Christ.  I  have  fed  you  with  milk,  and  not  with  meat ;  for 
hitherto  ye  were  not  able  to  bear  it;  neither  yet  now  are  ye  able.'  The 
apostle  did  not  soar  aloft  in  the  clouds,  and  express  the  mysteries  of 
the  gospel  in  such  a  dark  obscure  way  as  that  poor  creatures  could  not 
be  able  to  pick  out  the  mind  of  God  in  it.  No  ;  but  he  suited  all  his 
discourses  to  their  capacities  ;  and  so  must  you. 

[8.]  Eighthly,  It  is  your  duty  to  labour  to  strengthen  weak  saints 
against  sin^  and  to  draw  them  to  holiness  argumentatively. 

When  a  strong  saint  comes  to  deal  with  one  that  is  weak,  and 
would  strengthen  him  against  sin,  he  must  do  it  argumentatively  ; 
and  when  he  would  draw  to  holiness,  he  must  do  it  argumentatively. 
1  John  iL  1,  2,  compared  with  chap.  i.  7,  9,  'My  little  children,  these 
things  write  I  unto  you,  that  ye  sin  not.'  What  things  were  those  he 
wrote  ?  Mark,  chap.  i.  7,  '  If  we  walk  in  the  light,  as  he  is  in  the  light, 
we  have  fellowship  one  with  another,  and  the  blood  of  Jesus  Christ 
his  Son  cleanseth  from  all  sins.'  Here  he  fenceth  them  against  sin, 
by  one  of  the  strongest  and  choicest  arguments  that  the  whole  book  of 
God  affords,  by  an  argument  that  is  drawn  from  the  soul's  communion 
with  God.  And  then  in  verse  .9,  '  If  we  confess  our  sins,  he  is  faithful 
and  just  to  forgive  us  our  sins,  and  to  cleanse  us  from  all  unrighteousness. 
If  any  man  sin,  we  have  an  advocate  with  the  Father.'  Here  the 
apostle  labours  to  strengthen  weak  saints  argumentatively,  even  by  the 
strongest  arguments  that  the  whole  book  of  God  affords.  So  verses  12, 
Jo,  '  L  write  unto  you,  little  children,  because  your  sins  are  forgiven 
you,  for  his  name's  sake,'  &c.  So  in  verse  18,  'Little  children,  it  is  the 
last  times,  and  as  ye  have  heard  that  antichrist  shall  come,  even  now 


( 


EpH.  III.  8.]  EICHES  OF  CHRIST.  101 

are  there  many  antichrists,  whereby  we  know  that  it  is  the  last  time/ 
So  verse  28,  '  And  now,  little  children,  abide  in  him,  that  when  he  shall 
appear,  we  may  have  confidence,  and  not  be  ashamed  before  him  at  his 
coming.  If  ye  know  that  he  is  righteous,  ye  know  that  every  one 
that  doth  righteousness  is  born  of  him.'  You  see  in  all  these  scriptures 
how  the  apostle  labours  to  strengthen  weak  saints  in  a  way  of  holiness, 
and  to  fence  them  against  ways  of  wickedness  argumentatively,  and  so 
must  you ;  this  being  the  ready  way  to  convince  them,  and  to  make  a 
conquest  upon  them,  &c. 

The  ninth  duty  that  lies  upon  strong  saints  is, 

[9.]  To  cast  a  mantle  over  the  infirmities  of  the  weak. 

Now  there  is  a  three-fold  mantle  that  should  be  cast  over  the  infir- 
mities of  the  weak.  There  is  a  mantle  of  wisdom,  a  mantle  of  faith- 
fulness, and  a  mantle  of  compassion,  which  is  to  be  cast  over  all  the 
infirmities  of  weak  saints. 

First,  Strong  saints  are  to  cast  a  mantle  of  wisdom  over  the  infirmi- 
ties of  weak  saints.  They  are  not  to  present  their  sins  in  that  ugliness, 
and  with  such  aggravations,  as  may  terrify,  as  may  sink,  as  may  make 
a  weak  saint  to  despair,  or  may  drive  him  from  the  mercy-seat,  or  as 
may  keep  him  and  Christ  asunder,  or  as  may  unfit  him  for  the  dis- 
charge of  religious  duties.  It  is  more  a  weakness  than  a  virtue  in 
strong  Christians,  when  a  weak  saint  is  fallen,  to  aggravate  his  fall  to 
the  uttermost,  and  to  present  his  sins  in  such  a  dreadful  dress,  as  shall 
amaze  him,  &c.  It  often  proves  very  prejudicial  and  dangerous  to 
weak  saints,  when  their  infirmities  are  aggravated  beyond  Scripture 
grounds,  and  beyond  what  they  are  able  to  bear.  He  that  shall  lay 
the  same  strength  to  the  rubbing  of  an  earthen  dish,  as  he  does  to  the 
rubbing  of  a  pewter  platter,  instead  of  clearing  it,  shall  surely  break  it 
all  to  pieces.     The  application  is  easy,  &c.^ 

Secondly,  There  is  a  mantle  of  faithfulness  that  is  to  be  cast  over 
the  infirmities  of  weak  saints.  A  man  should  never  discover  the  infir- 
mities of  a  weak  saint,  especially  to  such  that  have  neither  skill  nor 
will  to  heal  and  bury  them.  The  world  will  but  blaspheme  and  blaze 
them  abroad,  to  the  dishonour  of  God,  to  the  reproach  of  religion,  and 
to  the  grief  and  scandal  of  the  weak,  &c.  They  will  with  Ham  rather 
call  upon  others  to  scoff  at  them,  than  bring  a  mantle  to  cover  them, 
&c.  Ham  was  cursed  for  that  he  did  discover  his  father's  nakedness  to 
his  brethren,  when  it  was  in  his  power  to  have  covered  it.  He  saw  it, 
and  might  have  drawn  a  curtain  over  it,  but  would  not ;  and  for  this, 
by  a  spirit  of  prophecy,  he  was  cursed  by  his  father,  Gen.  ix.  22. 
This  age  is  full  of  such  monsters,  that  rejoice  to  blaze  abroad  the 
infirmities  of  the  saints,  and  these  certainly  justice  hath  or  will  curse. 

Thirdly,  There  is  a  mantle  of  compassion  that  must  be  cast  over  the 
weaknesses  and  infirmities  of  weak  saints.  When  a^  "v^ak  man  comes 
to  see  his  sin,  and  the  Lord  gives  him  to  lie  down  in  the  dust,  and  to 
take  shame  and  confusion  to  himself,  that  he  hath  dishonoured  God, 
and  caused  Christ  to  bleed  afresh,  and  grieved  the  Spirit,  &p,  ;  oh  now 

^  Parisiensis  said  sometimes  concerning  trifles  :  It  is,  said*  h:^,  as  K  a  man  slionld  seq'a 
fly  or  a  flea  on  a  man's  forehead,  and  for  that  should  preseiVtJIy  tttke  a  beetle  to  liii^^k 
him  on  the  head  to  kill  the  fly.  [Query,  Peter  Lombard?  Cf.  Sibbes,  vol.  j.  |;p)  55, 
lOl.-G.] 


102  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

thou  must  draw  a  covering,  and  cast  a  mantle  of  love  and  compassion 
over  his  soul,  that  he  may  not  be  swallowed  up  with  sorrow.  Now 
thou  must  confirm  thy  love  to  him,  and  carry  it  with  as  great  tender- 
ness and  sweetness  after  his  fall,  as  if  he  had  never  fallen.  This  the 
apostle  presses,  2  Cor.  ii.  7,  '  Love,'  says  the  wise  man,  '  covereth  all 
sin.'  Love's  mantle  is  very  large.  Love  claps  a  plaster  upon  every 
sore ;  love  hath  two  hands,  and  makes  use  of  both,  to  hide  the  scars  of 
weak  saints.  Christ,  O  strong  saints,  casts  the  mantle  of  his  righteous- 
ness over  your  weaknesses,  and  will  not  you  cast -the  mantle  of  love 
over  your  brother's  infirmities  ?^ 

[10.]  Tenthly,  It  is  the  duty  of  strong  saints  to  sympathize  with  the 
weak ;  to  rejoice  with  them  when  they  rejoice,  and  to  mourn  with 
them  when  they  mourn. 

2  Cor.  xi.  29,  '  Who  is  weak,  and  I  am  weak  1  who  is  ffxavSaX/^sra/, 
scandalized,  offended,  and  I  TygoC^a/,  am  not  on  fire,  burn  not  ? 

Thuanus  reports  of  Lodovicus  Marsacus,  a  knight  of  France,  when 
he  was  led  with  other  martyrs  that  were  bound  with  cords,  going  to 
execution,  and  he  for  his  dignity  was  not  bound,  he  cried,  Give  me  my 
chains  too,  let  me  be  a  knight  of  the  same  order.^ 

It  should  be  between  a  strong  saint  and  a  weak,  as  it  is  between  two 
lute-strings,  that  are  tuned  one  to  another ;  no  sooner  one  is  struck, 
but  the  other  trembles ;  no  sooner  should  a  weak  saint  be  struck,  but 
the  strong  should  tremble.  'Remember  them  that  are  in  bonds,  as 
bound  with  them,'  Heb.  xiii.  3. 

The  Romans  punished  one  that  was  seen  looking  out  at  his  window 
with  a  crown  of  roses  on  his  head,  in  a  time  of  public  calamity ;  and 
will  not  God  punish  those  that  do  not  sympathize  with  Joseph  in  his 
afflictions  ?     Surely  he  will.     Amos  vi.  1-14. 

[11.]  Lastly,  It  is  the  duty  of  the  strong  to  give  to  the  weak  the 
honour  that  is  due  unto  them. 

I  Peter  iii.  7:  They  have  the  same  name,  the  same  baptism,  the 
same  profession,  the  same  faith,  the  same  hope,  the  same  Christ,  the 
same  promises,  the  same  dignity,  and  the  same  glory  with  you  ;  there- 
fore speak  honourably  of  them,  and  carry  it  honourably  towards  them. 
Let  not  them  be  under  your  feet,  that  Christ  has  laid  near  his  heart, 
&c.     And  so  much  for  this  second  doctrine. 

We  come  now  to  the  next  words. 

Unto  me,  who  am  less  than  the  least  of  all  saints,  is  this  grace  given, 
c&c— Eph.  iii.  8. 

We  shall  speak  now  to  the  word  grace.  The  Greek  word  %a^/»,  that 
is  here  rendered  grace,  hath  a  twofold  signification. 

Fi7^st,  Sometimes  it  is  taken  for  the  gracious  favour  and  good-will  of 
God,  whereby  he  is  pleased  of  his  own  free  love  to  accept  and  own  poor 
sinners  in  the  Son  of  )iis  love,  for  his  own.  This  is  called  the  first 
grace,  because  it  is  the  fountain  of  all  other  graces,  and  the  spring 
from  whence  they  flow.  And  it  is  therefore  called  grace,  because  it 
makes  a  man  gracious,  with  God. 

'  tha-we  known  a  good  oJ.d  man,  said  Bernard,  who,  when  he  had  heard  of  any  that 
liad  cevumitted  some  notbrioHs  offence,  was  wout  to  say  with  himself,  lUe  hodie,  et  ego 
oas,  he  ijW  to-day  ;  so  in  ay  I  to-morrow,  &c.  ^  Thuauus,  Hist,  {sub  m>mine. — (jr.] 


EpH.  Ill  8.  J  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  103 

Secondly,  This  word  %Ǥ'?,  that  is  here  rendered  grace,  is  taken  for 
the  gifts  of  grace,  and  they  are  of  two  sorts,  special  or  common. 
Common  grace  is  that  which  hypocrites  may  have,  and  in  which  they 
may  excel  and  go  beyond  the  choicest  saints,  as  in  a  gift  of  knowledge, 
a  gift  of  utterance,  a  gift  of  prayer,  a  gift  of  tongues,  &c.  A  man  may 
have  these,  and  many  other  excellent  gifts,  and  yet  miscarry,  yea,  fall 
as  low  as  hell ;  witness  Judas,  Demas,  the  scribes  and  pharisees,  &c..  Mat. 
vii.  21-25.  Secondly,  There  is  special  grace,  as  faith,  love,  humility, 
meekness,  which  the  apostle  reckons  up.  Gal.  v.  22,  23.  Now  here  by 
grace  you  may  either  understand  the  gracious  favour  of  God,  *'  Unto 
me  who  am  less  than  the  least  of  all  saints  is  this  choice  favour  given, 
that  I  should  preach  among  the  Gentiles  the  unsearchable  riches  of 
Christ,'  or  else  you  may  take  it  for  the  gifts  of  grace,  both  saving 
and  common,  which  the  apostle  had  given  him,  in  order  to  the  dis- 
charge of  his  ministerial  office,  which,  by  the  special  favour  of  God, 
he  was  advanced  to. 

The  word  grace  being  thus  opened,  we  may  from  thence  observe, 
first, 

I.  That  the  Lord  gives  his  best  gifts  to  his  best  beloved  ones. 

'  Unto  me,'  saith  the  apostle,  *  who  am  less  than  the  least  of  all  saints, 
is  this  grace  given.' 

For  the  opening  and  clearing  of  this  point,  I  shall  premise  these  four 
things. 

I.  To  shew  you  what  those  best  gifts  are  that  God  bestows  upon  his 
best  beloved  ones. 

II.  I  shall  shew  you  the  manner  of  his  giving  the  best  gifts  to  his 
beloved  ones,  or  the  difference  there  is  between  Christ's  giving  and  the 
world's  giving. 

III.  And  then  the  excellency  of  those  gifts  that  Christ  gives,  above 
all  other  gifts  that  the  world  gives. 

IV.  And  lastly,  The  reason  why  Christ  gives  his  best  gifts  to  his  best 
beloved  ones. 

For  the  first,  What  are  those  best  gifts  that  Christ  bestows  upon  his 
best  beloved  ones  ? 

I  shall  not  instance  in  those  common  gifts  that  they  have  in  common 
with  others,  but  rather  shew  unto  you  those  special  gifts  that  he  be- 
stows upon  them  ;  and  of  those  I  shall  single  out  them  that  are  most 
choice,  and  that  carry  most  in  them  of  the  glory,  favour,  and  '  good 
will  of  him  that  dwelt  in  the  bush.' 

And  the  first  is  this  : 

[1.]  He  gives  light  to  his  beloved  ones;  and  'light  is  a  pleasant 
thing  to  behold,'  as  the  wise  man  speaks,  Eccles.  xi.  7.  He  gives 
spiritual  light,  which  is  a  mercy  of  mercies.  Eph.  v.  14,  '  Awake,  thou 
that  sleepest,  and  arise  from  the  dead,  and  Christ  shall  give  thee  light.'' 
So  John  i.  7-9,  '  He  was  not  that  Light,  but  was  sent  to  bear  witness  of 
that  Light.  That  was  the  true  Light,  that  lighteneth  every  man  that 
Cometh  into  the  world.'^  He  gives  that  light  whereby  his  people  are 
enabled  to  see  sin  to  be  the  greatest  evil,  and  himself  to  be  the  chiefest 

1  'fyrKpixvtru  aoi,  shine  upon  thee.     Life  without  light  is  but  a  lifeless  life. 

2  Vide  Camerou  and  Augustine  on  the  words. 


104  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

good.  He  gives  that  light  that  melts  the  soul,  that  humbles  the  soul, 
that  warms  the  soul,  that  quickens  the  soul,  that  quiets  the  soul,  and  that 
glads  the  soul.  Man  is  not  bom  with  heavenly  light  in  his  heart,  as  he  is 
born  with  a  tongue  in  his  mouth.  Till  Christ  comes  and  sets  up  a  light 
in  the  soul,  the  soul  lives  in  darkness,  and  lies  in  darkness,  yea,  is  dark- 
ness in  the  very  abstract :  Eph.  v.  8,  '  Ye  were  sometimes  darkness,  but 
now  are  ye  light  in  the  Lord."  Saints  are  always  in  the  sunshine,  there- 
fore they  should  be  like  a  crystal  glass,  with  a  light  in  the  midst,  which 
appeareth  in  every  part.^ 

A  Christian  should  be  like  the  lamp  in  the  story,  that  never  went 
out.  Were  it  not  for  the  sun,  it  would  be  perpetual  night  in  the  world, 
notwithstanding  all  starlight,  and  torchlight,  and  moonlight.  It  is  not 
the  torchlight  of  natural  parts  and  creature-comforts,  nor  the  starlight 
of  civil  honesty  and  common  gifts,  nor  yet  the  moonlight  of  temporary 
faith  and  fonnal  profession,  that  can  make  day  in  the  soul,  till  the  Sun 
of  righteousness  rise  and  shine  upon  it.  And  that  is  the  first  thing  he 
gives,  light. 

Now,  the  second  thing  he  gives  is, 

[2.j  Repentance.  Repentance  is  not  a  flower  that  grows  in  nature's 
garden.  Acts  v.  31,  *  Him  hath  God  the  Father  exalted  to  be  a  Prince 
and  a  Saviour,  to  give  repentance  to  Israel,  and  forgiveness  of  sins.'  So 
in  2  Tim.  ii.  25,  '  The  servant  of  the  Lord  must  in  meekness  instruct 
those  that  oppose  themselves,  if  God  peradventure  will  give  them  re- 
pentance to  the  acknowledging  of  the  truth.'  By  these  scriptures,  it  is 
clear  that  repentance  is  no  flower  that  grows  in  nature's  garden,  though 
Arminians  teach  and  print,  that  if  men  will  put  out  their  power  and 
their  strength  they  may  repent,  &c.'^  But  several  that  have  been  of  this 
opinion,  have  experienced  the  falseness  of  it  when  it  hath  been  too  late: 
*  The  Ethiopian  cannot  change  his  skin,  nor  the  leopard  his  spots,'  Jer. 
xiii.  23.  And  certainly,  if  there  were  such  a  power  in  man  to  repent, 
as  some  would  make  the  world  believe,  man  would  never  miscarry  ever- 
lastingly for  his  not  repenting.  Oh,  is  it  good  dwelling  with  everlasting 
burnings,  with  a  burning  fire  ?  Is  it  good  being  for  ever  shut  out  from 
the  presence  of  the  Lord,  and  the  glory  of  his  power?  Certainly,  if 
there  were  such  a  power  in  vain  man  to  repent,  no  man  would  go  to 
hell  for  not  repenting ;  and  many  that  have  boasted  much  of  their 
abilities  to  repent,  when  they  have  been  upon  a  dying  bed,  w^ould  have 
given  a  thousand  worlds,  were  there  so  many  in  their  power,  that  they 
could  but  repent.^ 

Luther  confesses,  that  before  his  conversion,  he  met  not  with  a  more  dis- 
pleasing word  in  all  the  study  of  divinity  than  this  word  repent',  but  after 
the  Lord  had  converted  him,  and  manifested  himself  to  him,  he  delighted 
in  this  work;  then  he  could  sorrow  for  his  sins,  and  rejoice  in  his  sorrow.* 

'  When  Telemachus  saw  a  great  light,  that  guided  him  and  his  father  in  a  dark  room, 
Surely,  said  he,  there  is  some  god  in  it.     Mai,  iv.  2. 

2  2  Cor.  iii.  6.  If  there  be  such  a  power  in  fallen  man  to  repent  and  believe,  &c.,  to 
what  purpose  was  the  coming  of  Christ  into  the  world  ?  1  John  ii.  9  ;  iii.  8.  And  why 
do  natural  men,  when  their  consciences  are  awakened,  so  cry  out,  that  they  are  as  able 
to  stop  the  sun  in  his  course,  to  raise  the  dead,  and  to  make  a  world,  as  they  are  able  of 
themselves  to  repent  ?  &c. 

^  Aiit  pcenitendum  aut  pereundum. 

*  Homo  ipsius  pcenitentioe  pcenitere  debet. — Salvian.  Pcenitens  de  peccato  dolet,  et  dc 
dolore  gaudet.  —Luther. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  105 

Repentance  strips  the  soul  stark  naked  of  all  the  garments  of  the  old 
Adam,  and  leaves  not  so  much  as  the  shirt  behind.  In  this  rotten 
building  there  is  not  one  stone  left  upon  another.  As  the  flood  drowned 
Noah's  own  friends  and  servants,  as  well  as  strangers,  so  true  repent- 
ance drowns  all  darling  lusts.  True  repentance  is  the  cutting  off  the 
right  hand,  and  the  pulling  out  of  the  right  eye ;  and  is  this  such  an 
easy  thing  ?  Surely  no.  True  repentance  is  a  gift  that  is  from  above, 
and  if  the  Lord  doth  not  give  it,  man  will  eternally  perish  for  the  want 
of  it.  You  may  read  much  more  of  this  in  my  treatise  called  Heaven 
on  Earth} 

[3.]  Thirdly,  Christ  gives  his  Spirit.  Rom.  v.  5,  '  The  love  of  God 
is  shed  abroad  in  our  hearts  by  the  Holy  Ghost,  which  is  given  unto 
us.'  So  in  1  John  iii.  24,  '  And  hereby  we  know  that  he  abideth  in  us.' 
How?  'By  the  Spirit  which  he  hath  given  us.'  So  in  chap.  iv.  13. 
The  Spirit  that  the  Lord  Christ  gives  is  an  enlightening  Spirit,  it  is  the 
candle  of  the  Lord  set  up  in  the  hearts  of  the  saints,  to  guide  them  in 
the  way  everlasting.^  It  is  a  sanctifying  Spirit,  a  Spirit  of  burning, 
Isa.  iv.  4.  He  is  a  fire  to  enlighten  the  soul,  and  a  fire  to  enliven  the 
soul,  and  a  fire  to  warm  the  soul,  &c.  Whatsoever  is  of  the  Spirit  is 
spirit.'  It  is  nimble,  and  lively,  and  active,  and  full  of  life  and  motion, 
as  the  Spirit  is.  A  man  without  the  Spirit  of  the  Lord  is  a  dull, 
dromish*  creature.  As  the  Latins  call  a  dull,  dromish  man,  a  fireless 
man,  so  we  may  call  a  man  that  hath  not  the  Spirit,  a  spiritless  man. 
The  Spirit  that  Christ  gives  is  a  sealing  Spirit,  Eph.  i.  13 ;  and  a  leading 
Spirit,  Rom.  viii.  He  leads  from,  sin,  he  leads  from  wrath,  he  leads 
from  the  curse  ;  he  leads  to  God,  he  leads  to  Christ,  he  leads  to  the 
promises,  he  leads  to  glory,  &c. 

Again,  this  Spirit  is  a  comforting  Spirit,  John  iv.  16  ;  and  a  pleading 
Spirit,  Rom.  viii.  26.  Every  Christian  has  three  advocates  pleading  for 
him  :  the  first  is,  that  divine  love  that  is  in  the  bosom  of  the  Father ; 
the  second  is,  the  Lord  Jesus  that  is  at  the  right  hand  of  the  Father; 
and  the  third  is,  the  Holy  Spirit  that  is  one  with  the  Father.^ 

[4.]  Fourthly,  He  gives  his  blood.  The  blood  of  Christ  is  a  gift  of 
Christ  to  his  beloved  ones.  Mat  xx.  28,  '  The  Son  of  man  came  not  to 
be  ministered  unto,  but  to  minister,  and  to  give  his  life  a  ransom  for 
many.'  So  in  John  x.  11,  'I  am  the  good  shepherd :  the  good  shep- 
herd giveth  his  life  for  his  sheep.'  His  blood  was  the  purest  blood,  his 
human  nature  being  most  pure.  His  blood  was  the  noblest  blood,  and 
therefore  called  in  Scripture,  *  the  blood  of  God,"  Rom.  iii.  25  and  Acts 
XX.  28,  by  reason  of  the  conjunction  of  the  divine  nature  with  the  human. 
It  was  his  life-blood,  his  heart-blood  that  he  gave.  It  was  not  the 
blood  of  his  finger,  but  the  blood  of  his  heart ;  it  was  precious  blood. 

Three  things  are  called  precious  in  the  Scripture. 

(1.)  Faith  is  called  precious  faith,  2  Peter  i.  1. 

(2.)  The  promises  are  called  precious  promises,  ver.  4. 

(3.)  The  blood  of  Christ  is  called  precious  blood,  1  Peter  i.  19. 

1  In  Vol,  II.  p.  301,  seq. — G.  ^  Spiritus  Sanctus  est  res  delicata,  John  xiv.  26. 

^  Nil  nisi  sanctum  a  Sancto  Spiritu  prodire  potest. 
*  Query,  '  dronish'  ?  which  is  found  in  Barrow  =  lazy. — G. 

5  There  is  no  gainsaying  Demosthenes's  words,  said  one.  So  there  is  no  gainsaying 
of  the  pleadings  of  the  Spirit. 


106  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

All  your  precious  mercies  swim  to  you  in  precious  blood,  as  you  may 
see  by  comparing  the  scriptures  in  the  margin  together.^ 

It  was  an  excellent  saying  of  Luther,  speaking  of  this  blood  of  Christ, 
Una  guttula  plus  valet  quam  coelum  et  terra,  one  little  drop  of  this 
blood,  saith  he,  is  more  worth  than  heaven  and  earth.  Your  pardon 
swims  to  you  in  blood  ;  your  peace  swims  to  you  in  blood ;  your  recon- 
ciliation is  made  by  blood ;  your  acceptation  is  wrought  by  blood,  &c. 
Sanguis  Christi  clavis  coeli,  Christ's  blood  is  heaven's  key  ;  Christ's 
blood  is  a  preservative  against  the  greatest  evils ;  Christ's  blood,  as 
Pliny  saith  oi  polium,  is  a  preservative  against  serpents,  &c. 

[5.]  Fifthly,  Christ  gives  pardon  of  sin.  And  do  you  know  what  a 
mercy  that  is  ?  Ask  the  troubled  soul,  ask  the  soul  that  knows  what  it 
is  to  lie  under  the  wrath  of  the  Almighty,  and  he  will  tell  you  that 
pardon  of  sin  is  a  gift  more  worth  than  a  thousand  worlds.  Now  that 
pardon  of  sin  is  a  gift  of  God,  you  may  see  in  Acts  v.  31,  *  Him  hath 
God  exalted  with  his  right  hand,  to  be  a  Prince  and  a  Saviour,  to  give 
repentance  to  Israel,  and  forgiveness  of  sins.'^  So  in  Acts  xxvi.  18. 
Ah,  souls !  of  all  mercies  pardoning  mercy  is  the  most  necessary 
mercy.  I  may  to  heaven  without  honours,  and  without  riches,  and 
without  the  smiles  of  creatures  ;  but  I  can  never  to  heaven  without 
pardoning  mercy.  A  man  may  be  great  and  graceless,  he  may  be  rich 
and  miserable,  he  may  be  honourable  and  damnable,  &c.,^  but  he  cannot 
be  a  pardoned  soul,  but  he  must  be  a  very  blessed  soul,*  Ps.  xxxii. 
1,  2.  It  entitles  souls  to  all  blessedness,  it  puts  the  royal  crown  upon 
their  heads.  Of  all  mercies  pardoning  mercy  is  the  most  sweetening 
mercy  ;  it  is  a  choice  jewel,  and  swims  to  the  soul  in  blood,  Heb.  ix.  22. 
It  is  a  mercy  that  makes  all  other  mercies  to  look  like  mercies,  and  taste 
like  mercies,  and  work  like  mercies ;  and  the  want  of  it  takes  off  the 
glory  and  beauty  of  all  a  man's  mercies,  and  makes  his  life  a  very  hell. 
Pardon  of  sin  is  a  voluminous  mercy,  a  mercy  that  has  many,  many 
precious  mercies  in  the  womb  of  it.  You  may  weU  call  it  Gad,  Gen. 
XXX.  11,  for  it  ushers  in  troops  of  mercy.  When  you  can  number  the 
sands  of  the  sea,  and  tell  the  stars  of  heaven,  then,  and  not  till  then, 
shall  you  be  able  to  recount  the  mercies  that  attend  pardoning  mercy. 
He  that  has  this  mercy  cannot  be  miserable,  and  he  that  wants  it  cannot 
be  happy :  get  this  and  get  all,  miss  this  and  miss  all.  This  is  a  gift 
conferred  only  upon  Christ's  favourites  :  *  Son,  be  of  good  cheer,  thy 
sins  are  forgiven  thee,'  Mat.  ix.  2.  No  mercy  will  make  a  man  ever- 
lastingly merry  below  pardoning  mercy.  He  hath  no  reason  to  be  sad 
that  hath  his  pardon  in  his  bosom,  nor  he  hath  no  reason  to  be  glad, 
who  is  upon  the  last  step  of  the  ladder,  ready  to  be  turned  off  without 
his  pardon.  And  this  is  the  fifth  gift  that  Christ  gives  to  his,  viz. 
pardon  of  sin. 

[6.]  Sixthly,  Christ  gives  precious  pratnises :  2  Peter  i.  4,  'Whereby 
are  given  unto  us  exceeding  great  and  precious  promises,'  &c.  The 
promises  are  a  precious  book  ;  every  leaf  drops  myrrh  and  mercy.  The 
promises  are  golden  vessels,  that  are  laden  with  the  choicest  jewels  that 

^  Rora.  V.  9  ;  Eph.  i.  7  ;  Col.  i.  20  ;  Heb.  ix.  7,  26,  x.  19  ;  1  Jolm  i.  7  ;  Rev.  i.  5,  &c. 
2  T^  ^iliK  avTov,  to  his  right  hand  ;  that  is,  to  honour  and  dignity,  &c. 
'  As  Ahab,  Haman,  Dives,  &c. 

"*  '•"lEJ'N,  blessednesses.  In  the  plural,  pardon  of  sin  includes  a  plurality  of  mercies,  a. 
chain  of  pearls,  a  chain  of  blessings. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  107 

heaven  can  afford  or  the  soul  desire.  All  our  spiritual,  temporal,  and 
eternal  good  is  to  be  found  in  the  belly  of  the  promises.^  Promises  are 
big-bellied  mercies.  There  is  nothing  you  can  truly  call  a  mercy  but 
you  will  find  it  in  the  belly  of  a  promise.  Under  all  changes  they  are 
the  comfort,  support,  and  relief  of  the  soul :  Ps.  cxix.  49,  50,  '  Remember 
thy  word  unto  thy  servant,  upon  which  thou  hast  caused  me  to  hope. 
This  is  my  comfort  in  my  affliction,  for  thy  word  hath  quickened  me.* 
If  the  sou]  groan  under  the  power  of  sin,  then  that  promise  relieves  it : 
Rom.  vi.  14,  *  For  sin  shall  not  have  dominion  over  you,  for  ye  are  not 
under  the  law,  but  under  grace,'  If  the  soul  groan  under  the  guilt  of 
sin,  then  that  promise  relieves  it :  Jer.  xxxiii.  8,  'I  will  pardon  all  their 
iniquities  whereby  they  have  sinned  against  me,'  &c.  And  that  pro- 
mise, Isa.  xliii.  25,  'I,  even  I,  am  he  that  blotteth  out  thy  trans- 
gressions for  my  own  sake,  and  will  not  remember  thy  sins.  I,  even  I, 
am  he,  blotting  out  thy  transgression ;'  '  I,  even  I,'  whom  thou  hast 
offended  ;  '  I,  even  I,'  whom  thou  hast  provoked  ;  '  I,  even  I,'  whose 
glorious  name  thou  hast  profaned  ;  '  I,  even  I,'  whose  righteous  law  thou 
hast  violated  ;  '  I,  even  1/  whose  holy  covenant  thou  hast  transgressed  ; 
*  I,  even  I,'  whose  mercies  thou  hast  despised  ;  '  I,  even  I,  whose  chas- 
tisements thou  hast  slighted,'  will  blot  out  thy  transgressions  for  my 
own  sake.' 

*  I,  even  I,'  is  a  passionate  and  emphatical  expression.  God's  good- 
ness runs  over  to  sinful  creatures ;  and  *  where  sin  abounds,  there  grace 
doth  superabound.' 

If  the  creditor  himself  blot  out  the  debt,  and  cross  the  book,  surely  it 
shall  never  be  remembered  more.^  Our  sins  are  debts,  which  God,  who 
hath  the  power  of  life  and  death,  of  heaven  and  hell,  of  condemning  and 
absolving,  hath  engaged  himself  to  blot  out  as  a  thick  cloud  :  Isa.  xHv. 
22,  '  I  have  blotted  out  as  a  thick  cloud  thy  transgressions,  and  as  a 
cloud  thy  sins.'  An  under-officer  may  blot  out  an  indictment,  and  yet 
the  offender  may  be  never  the  better  for  it ;  but  if  the  king,  who  is  the 
supreme  judge,  shall  blot  it  out,  then  the  offender  is  safe.  The  appli- 
cation is  easy.  If  the  soul  be  deserted,  then  that  promise  relieves  it : 
Micah  vii.  18,  19,  '  He  will  turn  again,  he  will  have  compassion  upon 
us,'  &c.  If  the  soul  be  sliding  and  ready  to  fall,  then  that  promise 
supports  and  upholds  it :  Ps.  xxxvii.  24,  'Though  he  fall,  he  shall  not 
be  utterly  cast  down,  for  the  Lord  upholdeth  him  with  his  hand  ;'  or,  as 
the  Hebrew  hath  it,  'the  Lord  upholding  him  with  his  hand;'  Deut. 
xxxiii.  26,  27.  The  Hebrew  particle  I^ID  notes  a  continued  act  of  God. 
God  hath  still  his  everlasting  arms  under  his  people,  so  that  they  shall 
never  totally  nor  finally  fall.  And  the  root  samach,  from  whence  this 
word  is  derived,  signifies  to  sustain  or  uphold,  as  the  tender  mother  doth 
the  little  babe.  The  safety  and  security  of  the  child  lies  not  so  much 
in  the  child's  hanging  about  the  mother's  neck,  as  in  the  mother's  holding 
it  fast  in  her  arms.  So  our  safety  and  security  lies  not  so  much  in  our 
weak  holding  upon  Christ,  but  in  Christ's  holding  of  us  fast  in  his  ever- 
lasting arms.     This  is  our  glory  and  our  safety,  that  Christ's  '  left  hand 

1  The  promises  are  precious  beds  of  spices  ;  they  are  utres  coelestes,  bottles  filled  with 
those  heavenly  dews  that  will  never  fail,  like  that  of  Hagar's,  but  will  cherish  and  nourish 
the  soul  to  life  eternal,  &c. 

2  Mat.  vi.  12,  14,  15,  and  xviii.  24,  27,  33  ;  Luke  vii.  41-48. 


108  THE  UNSEAKCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

is  always  under  us,  and  his  right  hand  does  always  embrace  us,'  Cant, 
ii.  6.  If  the  soul  be  forsaken  by  friends,  then  that  promise  relieves  it, 
Heb.  xiii.  5,  6,  '  I  will  never  leave  thee  nor  forsake  thee/ 

There  are  five  negatives  in  the  Greek  to  assure  God's  people  that  he 
will  never  forsake  them.  Five  times  this  precious  promise  is  renewed 
in  the  Scripture,  that  we  might  have  the  stronger  consolation,  and  that 
we  may  press  and  oppress  it  till  we  have  gotten  all  the  sweetness  out  of 
it.  And  verily  many  precious  souls  have  sucked  much  sweetness  out  of 
the  breasts  of  this  promise,  when  their  nearest  relations  and  their  dearest 
friends  have  forsaken  them  and  forgotten  them.  God  loves  that  his 
people  should  put  his  bonds,  his  promises  in  suit ;  and  he  that  doth 
shall  find  God  near  him,  though  friends  should  leave  him,  and  the  world 
be  in  arms  against  him,  &c.  If  the  soul  be  tempted,  then  that  word  of 
promise  relieves  it,  1  Cor.  x.  13,  '  But  God  is  faithful,  who  will  not 
suffer  you  to  be  tempted  above  that  you  are  able/  &c.  The  promises 
are  a  Christian's  magna  charta  ;  they  are  his  chief  evidences  for  heaven. 
Men  highly  prize  their  charters  and  privileges,  and  carefully  keep  the 
conveyances  and  assurances  of  their  lands.  Oh  !  how  should  saints 
then  treasure  up  and  keep  these  precious  promises  which  the  Lord  hath 
given  them,  and  which  are  to  them,  instead  of  all  assurances,  for  their 
protection,  maintenance,  deliverance,  comfort,  and  everlasting  happiness! 
And  thus  much  for  the  sixth  gift  the  Lord  gives,  viz.  the  promises. 

[7.]  Seventhly,  The  Lord  gives  grace  :  *  Of  his  fulness  we  all  have 
received  grace  for  grace,'  John  i.  16.  The  Lord  gives  that  grace,  the 
least  dram  of  which  is  more  worth  than  heaven  and  earth. 

It  was  an  excellent  saying  of  one  of  the  ancients  [Jerome],  '  I  had 
rather  have  St  Paul's  coat  with  his  heavenly  graces,  than  the  purple 
robes  of  kmgs  with  their  kingdoms.'  Grace  is  that  which  truly  ennobles 
the  soul ;  it  raises  the  soul  up  to  converse  with  the  highest  and  with 
the  noblest  objects,  and  every  man  is  as  the  objects  are  with  which  he 
converses.  If  the  objects  are  noble,  the  man  is  so  ;  if  the  objects  are 
base  with  which  a  man  converses,  the  man  is  base.^  A  man  may  better 
know  what  he  is  by  eyeing  the  objects  with  which  his  soul  does  mostly 
converse,  than  by  observing  his  most  glorious  and  pompous  services : 
'The  righteous  is  more  excellent  than  his  neighbour,'  Prov.  xii.  26. 
Abraham  was  a  prince  of  God  among  the  Hittites,  Gen.  xxiii.  6.  The 
Jews  say  that  those  seventy  persons  that  went  down  with  Jacob  into 
Egypt  were  more  worth  than  the  seventy  nations  of  the  world.  Indeed, 
it  is  only  grace  that  makes  a  man  truly  noble. 

When  one  heard  the  king  of  Persia  styled  *  the  Great  King,'  saith  he, 
I  acknowledge  none  more  excellent  than  myself,  unless  more  righteous ; 
nor  none  greater,  unless  better.  Grace,  as  it  is  bred  by  the  noblest 
means,  so  it  is  preserved  and  maintained  in  the  soul  by  the  choicest 
means,  viz.  union  and  communion  with  God,  &c.  ;  grace  is  glory  in  the 
bud,  and  glory  is  grace  at  the  full ;  grace  makes  a  man  all  glorious  within 
and  without ;  grace  is  a  ring  of  gold,  and  Christ  is  the  sparkling  diamond 
in  that  ring. 

[8.]  Eighthly,  He  gives  ])eace  :  John  xiv.  27,  'My  peace  I  leave  with 
you,  my  peace  I  give  unto  you  ;  not  as  the  world  giveth,  give  I  unto 

1  A  good  symbol  was  attributed  to  ^milian,  the  Roman  emperor,  Non  gens  sed  mens, 
non  genus  sed  genius,  not  race  or  place,  but  grace,  truly  sets  forth  a  man. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  mCHES  OF  CHRIST.  109 

you.'  Christ  gives  peace  with  God,  and  peace  with  conscience,  and 
peace  with  the  creatures.  Dulce  nomen  'pads,  the  very  name  of  peace 
is  sweet,  Kom.  v.  1,  Hosea  ii.  21-23,  Job  v.  1 9-25. 

The  Hebrews,  when  they  wished  all  happiness  to  any,  used  but 
this  one  word,  '  Peace  be  with  you  ;'  and  the  ancients  were  wont  to  paint 
peace  in  the  form  of  a  woman,  with  a  horn  of  plenty  in  her  hand,  all 
blessings.  Ask  a  soul  that  hath  been  under  terrors  of  conscience,  and 
he  will  tell  you,  that  of  all  gifts,  inward  peace  is  the  most  princely 
gift,  &c.^ 

[9.]  Ninthly,  He  gives  glory  :  John  x.  28,  '  My  sheep  hear  my  voice, 
and  they  follow  me,  and  I  give  unto  them  eternal  life.'     Rom.  vi.  23, 

*  The  wages  of  sin  is  death,  but  the  gift  of  God  is  eternal  life.' 

Now  the  glory  that  Christ  gives  is  real  glory  :   2  Tim.  iv.  7,   8, 

*  Henceforth  is  laid  up  for  me  a  crown  of  glory.'  The  Greek  word  a^ro- 
xiWai  signifies  two  things  :  1,  a  designation  of  a  crown ;  2,  a  reserva- 
tion and  safe  keeping  of  it  for  him  until  the  coronation  day. 

Again,  the  glory  he  gives  the  soul  is  soul-filling  glory ;  glory  that  fills 
the  understanding  with  the  clearest  and  the  brightest  light ;  glory  that 
fills  the  will  with  the  greatest  freedom  ;  glory  that  fills  the  affections 
with  the  choicest  joy  and  delight,^  Ps.  xvi.  11,  and  xvii.  15,  2  Cor. 
xii.  1-6. 

Again,  the  glory  he  gives  is  incomparable  glory :  Rom.  viii.  18,  *  I 
reckon  that  the  sufferings  of  this  present  time  are  not  worthy  to  be  com- 
pared with  the  glory  that  shall  be  revealed  in  us.'  The  Greek  word  \oyi- 
C,o[j^a.i,  that  is  here  rendered  /  reckon,  is  not  a  word  of  doubting,  but  a 
word  of  concluding.  I  conclude  by  arguments,  that  our  present  suifer- 
ings  are  not  worthy  to  be  compared  to  that  illustrious  and  glorious  glory 

*  that  is  ready  to  be  revealed  on  us,'  as  it  is  in  the  Greek.^  I  have  cast  up 
the  account,  saith  the  apostle,  as  wise  merchants  use  to  cast  up  theirs, 
and  I  find  in  the  balancing  of  the  account,  that  there  is  nothing  to  be 
compared  with  the  glory  that  shall  be  revealed. 

Again,  the  glory  he  gives  is  unmoveable  glory.  All  worldly  glory  is 
tottering  and  shaking.  Princes'  crowns  hang  now  but  upon  one  side  of 
their  heads.  *  The  Lord  of  hosts  hath  purposed  it  to  stain'  (or  pollute)  'the 
pride  of  all  glory,  and  to  bring  into  contempt  all  the  honourable  of  the 
earth,'  Isa.  xxiii.  9.  *  The  Lord  hath  purposed  it,'  or  as  it  is  in  the  Hebrew 
[nvy],  '  The  Lord  hath  consulted  it ;  and  the  counsel  of  the  Lord  shall 
stand.'  It  is  agreed  upon  in  heaven,  that  the  pride  of  all  glory  shall  be 
stained  and  polluted,  or  thrown  down,  as  some  polluted  filthy  thing  that 
is  trampled  under  foot.  Oh  !  but  this  glory  that  Christ  gives  is  un- 
moveable glory,  it  is  permanent  glory;  it  is  glory  that  cannot  be 
clianged,  stained,  or  polluted,  Heb.  xii.  28. 

Again,  the  glory  he  gives  is  suited  glory.  It  is  glory  that  is  suited 
to  the  backs,  hearts,  hopes,  desires,  and  capacities  of  his  servants,  John 
xiv.  1-3. 

Again,  the  glory  he  gives  is  never-fading  glory ;  it  is  glory  that  fadeth 
not  away.*     When  a  man  hath  been  in  heaven  as  many  millions  of 

^  Martinus  the  emperor's  motto  was,  Pax  bello  potior,  give  me  peace,  and  let  others 
quarrel.  ^  Pericula  non  respicit  tnartyr,  coronas  respidt,  saith  Basil. 

^  fiiXXoiKTcti,  ready  to  be  lU  «,£*«;,  on  us. 

*  I  Peter  i.  3,  4.  ufx,ci^avros  is  the  proper  name  of  a  flower  which  is  still  fresh  and 
green,  Isa.  xl.  6-8. 


110  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

years  as  there  be  stars  in  heaven,  his  glory  shall  be  as  fresh  and  as 
green  as  it  was  at  his  first  entrance  into  heaven.  All  worldly  glory  is 
like  the  flowers  of  the  field ;  but  the  glory  that  Christ  gives  is  lasting 
and  durable  like  himself,  &c. 

[10.]  Tentltly,  and  lastly.  He  gives  himself,  and  verily  this  is  a  gift 
of  gifts  indeed,  John  vi.  51,  63  ;  so  in  Eph.  v.  20.  A  saint  may  say,  Me- 
thinks  I  hear  Christ  saying  to  me  as  JEschines  said  to  Socrates,  *  Others,' 
said  he,  '  give  thee  silver  and  gold,  and  precious  jewels,  but  I  give  thee 
myself.'  So  the  soul  may  say.  One  friend  gives  me  bread,  and  another 
gives  me  clothes,  and  another  gives  me  house-room,  &c.  Oh  !  but  thoa 
givest  me  thyself  Christ  put  into  the  balance  will  outweigh  all  other 
gifts  that  he  bestows  upon  the  sons  of  men.  Christ  is  the  richest  gift. 
Oh  !  there  are  unsearchable  riches  in  Christ,  as  hereafter  I  shall  shew 
you.^  He  is  the  choicest  and  the  rarest  gift ;  he  is  a  gift  given  but  to 
a  few.  Rich  and  rare  jewels  are  not  commonly,  but  more  rarely  given; 
so  is  Christ.  Though  Israel  be  *  as  the  sand  of  the  sea,  yet  a  remnant 
only  shall  be  saved,'  Rom.  ix.  17.  *  A  garden  enclosed,  a  spring  shut 
up,  a  fountain  sealed,  is  my  well-beloved,'  Cant.  iv.  12.  '  Fear  not, 
little  flock,  it  is  your  Father's  pleasure  to  give  you  a  kingdom,'  Luke 
xii.  32.  Christ  is  a  drawing  gift,  a  gift  that  draws  all  other  gifts  along 
with  him.  *  If  he  have  given  us  his  Son,  how  shall  he  not  with  him 
freely  give  us  all  things  ?'  Rom.  viii.  32.  Christ  is  a  drawing  gift. 
When  God  the  Father  hath  cast  this  incomparable  jewel  into  a  man's 
bosom,  he  cannot  deny  him  anything.  Such  a  soul  may  well  say,  Hath 
he  given  me  a  Christ  ?  and  will  he  not  give  me  a  crumb  ?  Hath  he 
given  me  his  Son,  which  is  the  greatest  mercy  ?  and  will  he  stand 
with  me  for  lesser  mercies  ?  Surely  no.  In  a  word,  Christ  is  of  all 
gifts  the  sweetest  gift.  As  the  tree,  Exod.  xv.  25,  sweetened  the  bitter 
waters,  so  this  gift,  the  Lord  Jesus,  of  whom  that  tree  was  a  type, 
sweetens  all  other  gifts  that  are  bestowed  upon  the  sons  of  men.  He 
turns  every  bitter  into  sweet,  and  makes  every  sweet  more  sweet. 

And  so  I  come  to  the  second  thing  propounded,  and  that  was, 

II.  The  difference  between  Christ's  giving  and  the  world's  giving. 

And  this  I  shall  shew  you  in  the  following  particulars : 

[1.]  First,  The  world  gives,  but  they  give  grudgingly ;  but  when 
Christ  gives,  he  gives  freely  :  Isa.  Iv.  1,  '  Ho,  every  one  that  thirsteth, 
let  him  come,  and  buy  wine  and  milk  without  money,  and  without 
price.'  So  in  Rev.  xxi.  6,  *  I  will  give  to  every  one  that  is  athirst  of 
the  water  of  life  freely.'  To  do  good,  and  not  to  do  it  freely,  hand- 
somely, is  nothing.  A  benefit  given  with  grudging  is  a  stony  loaf,  only 
taken  for  necessity.^ 

[2.]  Secondly,  The  world  they  give,  but  they  give  poorly,  niggardly, 
hut  Christ  gives  plenteously,  richly  :  1  Tim.  vi.  17,  '  Charge  them  that 
are  rich  in  this  world,  that  they  be  not  high-minded,  nor  trust  in  uncer- 
tain riches,  but  in  the  living  God,  who  giveth  us  richly  all  things  to 
enjoy.'^ 

*  Austin  prays :  Lord,  saith  he,  whatever  thou  hast  given,  take  all  away ;  only  give 
me  thyself.     [Confessions,  often. — G.] 

2  2  Cor.  ix.  7  ;  I  Peter  iv.  9.     No  offerings  to  free-will  offerings. 

3  Saul  had  but  fivepence  to  give  the  seer  ;  the  seer,  after  much  good  cheer,  gives  him 
no  less  than  the  kingdom,  1  Sam.  ix.  8,  10.     So  God  deals  with  his. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  11] 

When  Caesar  gave  one  a  great  reward,  ' This,'  saith  he,  'is  too  great 
a  gift  for  me  to  receive  ;'  '  But,'  says  Caesar,  *  it  is  not  too  great  a  gift 
for  me  to  give."^  So,  though  the  least  gift  that  Christ  gives,  in  some 
sense,  is  too  much  for  us  to  receive,  yet  the  greatest  gifts  are  not 
too  great  for  Christ  to  give. 

It  is  said  of  Araunah,  that  noble  Jebusite,  renowned  for  his  bounty, 
that  *  he  had  but  a  subject's  purse,  but  a  king's  heart.'  But  the  Lord 
Jesus  hath  not  only  a  king's  heart,  but  he  hath  also  a  king's  purse,  and 
gives  accordingly. 

[3.]  Thirdly,  The  world  give,  hut  they  give  tauntingly,  they  give 
upbraidingly  ;  they  hit  men  in  the  teeth  vAth  the  gifts  they  give.  Ay, 
hut  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ  gives,  and  he  gives  willingly,  he  uphraids 
none  with  the  gifts  he  gives  :  James  i.  5,  *  If  any  man  lack  wisdom,  let 
him  ask  it  of  God,  that  gives  liberally,  and  upbraideth  no  man.'  Where 
Christ  gives,  there  he  won't  upbraid,  neither  with  present  failings  nor 
former  infirmities.  Christ  is  not  wont  to  reproach  those  to  whom  he 
gives  the  best  gifts  ;  he  will  not  cast  it  in  their  dish,  that  he  hath  been 
thus  and  thus  kmd  to  them,  but  will  always  '  rejoice  over  them  to  do 
them  good.'  But  the  world  gives,  and  then  reproaches  the  receiver  for 
receiving,  and  this  turns  all  into  gall  and  wormwood,  &c.^ 

[4.]  Fourthly,  The  world  gives,  hut  they  give  more  rarely,  hut  Christ 
gives,  and  he  gives  frequently.  He  [is  every)  day,  every  hour,  yea, 
every  moment,  a-giving  of  royal  favours  to  his  people.  Here  is  peace 
for  you  that  are  in  trouble,  says  Christ ;  and  here  is  pardon  for  you  that 
groan  under  guilt,  says  Christ;  and  here  is  comfort  for  you  that  are 
mourners  in  Zion,  says  Christ,  &c.  His  hand  is  ever  in  his  purse,  he 
is  still  a-scattering  pearls  of  glory,  ay,  the  very  jewels  of  his  crown, 
among  the  beloved  of  his  soul.^ 

[5.]  Fifthly,  The  world  gives,  hut  they  give  the  worst,  and  keep  the 
best ;  ay,  hut  Christ  gives  the  hest,  he  gives  the  hest  of  the  hest.  He 
gives  the  best  joy ;  the  best  comfort,  the  best  peace,  the  best  love,  the  best 
assistance,  &c.,  he  gives  adoption,  remission,  justification,  sanctificatioD, 
acceptation,  reconciliation,  and  glorification,  &c.  He  gives  the  best ;  as 
that  king  in  Plutarch  said  of  a  groat,  '  it  is  no  kingly  gift ;'  and  of  a 
talent,  *  it  is  no  base  bribe.''  The  world  gives  groats,  ay,  but  Christ 
gives  talents,  2  Cor.  ix.  15,  1  Peter  i.  8,  Phihp.  iv.  7,  Ps.  Ixxxviii. 
10,  11. 

[6.]  Sixthly,  The  world  gives  a  little,  that  they  may  give  no  more; 
ay,  hut  Christ  gives  that  he  may  give.  He  gives  a  little  grace  that  he 
may  give  grace  upon  grace.  He  gives  a  little  comfort  that  he  may  give 
fulness  of  comfort,  John  i.  16.  He  gives  some  sips  that  he  may  give 
full  draughts,  he  gives  pence  that  he  may  give  pounds,  and  he  gives 
pounds  that  he  may  give  hundreds. 

The  third  particular  that  I  am  to  shew  you  is, 

III.  The  excellency  of  those  gifts  that  Christ  gives,  ahove  all  other 
gifts  that  the  world  gives. 

'  Query,  Alexander  :  Plutarch  ? — G. 

«  Jar.  xxxii.  40,  41  ;  Prov.  i.  20-25  ;  viii  1-13 ;  and  ix.  1-7. 

'  Augustus,  in  his  solemn  feasts,  gave  gold  to  some,  and  trifles  to  others.  The  Lord 
gives  the  gold,  the  hest  things,  to  his  own ;  but  the  trifles  of  this  world  to  the  men  of  the 
world.    [Suetonius,  Octavius,  cap.  76. — G.] 


112  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

In  this  I  shall  mind  brevity,  and, 

[1.]  First,  The  gifts  that  Christ  gives  to  his  are  spiritual  and  hea- 
venly gifts,  as  is  most  clear  by  what  hath  been  already  said,  and  the 
spirituality  of  them  doth  demonstrate  the  excellency  of  them.  And 
doubtless  the  more  spiritual  any  gift,  any  promise,  any  truth,  any  prayer, 
or  any  service  is,  the  more  excellent  is  that  gift,  &c.  All  Christ's  gifts 
are  like  himself,  spiritual  and  heavenly. 

[2.]  Secondly,  They  are  pure  gifts.  Christ  gives  wine  without  water, 
light  without  darkness,  gold  without  dross,  and  sweet  without  bitter. 
Rev.  xxii.  1,  James  iii.  17.  There  is  much  dross  and  poison  in  the  gifts 
that  the  world  gives,  but  there  is  none  in  the  gifts  that  Christ  gives. 
The  streams  are  as  the  fountain  is ;  the  fountain  is  pure,  and  so  are  the 
streams.  The  branches  are  as  the  root  is ;  the  root  is  pure,  and  so  are 
the  branches. 

[3.]  Thirdly,  The  gifts  that  Christ  gives  are  soul-satisfying  gifts. 
They  are  such  as  are  suitable  to  the  soul,  and  therefore  they  satisfy  the 
soul.  Things  satisfy  as  they  suit.  There  is  a  good,  and  there  is  a  suit- 
able good.  Now,  it  is  only  the  suitable  good  that  satisfies  the  soul  of 
man.  A  pardon  is  most  suitable  to  a  condemned  man,  and  therefore  it 
best  satisfies  him.  Health  is  most  suitable  to  the  sick,  and  therefore  it 
satisfies  when  it  is  attained,  &c.  As  bread  satisfies  the  hungry  soul,  and 
drink  the  thirsty  soul,  and  clothing  the  naked  soul,  so  do  the  precious 
gifts  that  Christ  bestows  upon  the  soul  satisfy  the  soul.  The  light, 
the  love,  the  joy,  the  peace,  the  fellowship,  &c.,  that  Christ  gives,  doth 
abundantly  satisfy  the  soul,  Jer.  xxxi.  15,  16  ;  Ps.  xc.  14,  xxxvi.  8, 
Ixiii.  5,  Ixv.  4.  Oh,  but  the  gifts  that  this  world  gives  can  never  satisfy 
the  soul :  Eccles.  v.  10,  '  He  that  loveth  silver  shall  not  be  satisfied 
with  silver;  nor  he  that  loveth  abundance  with  increase.'  A  man  may 
as  soon  fill  a  chest  with  grace,  or  a  quart-pot  with  virtue,  as  a  heart 
with  wealth.  If  Alexander  conquer  one  world,  he  will  wish  for  another 
to  conquer.^ 

[4.]  Fourthly,  The  gifts  that  Christ  gives  are  most  permanent  and 
lasting  gifts.  The  grace  he  gives  is  called  '  an  immortal  seed,'  1  John 
iii.  9  ;  and  the  glory  he  gives  is  called  *  everlasting  glory,'  Rom.  ii.  7. 
The  gifts  of  the  world  are  fading,  2  Peter  i.  11.  A  false  oath,  a  spark 
of  fire,  a  storm  at  sea,  a  treacherous  friend,  brings  all  to  nothing  in  a 
moment.     Sad  experience  doth  every  day  confirm  this. 

[5.]  Fifthly,  and  lastly.  The  gifts  that  Christ  gives  are  the  most  use- 
ful gifts. ^  They  are  useful  to  the  strengthening  of  the  soul  against 
temptations,  and  to  the  supporting  of  the  soul  under  afflictions,  and  to 
the  sweetening  of  all  changes ;  health  and  sickness,  strength  and  weak- 
ness, plenty  and  poverty,  honour  or  disgrace,  life  or  death.  Oh,  but 
worldly  gifts  cannot  bear  up  the  spirits  of  men  from  fainting  and  sink- 
ing when  trials  come,  when  troubles  come. 

Our  modern  stories  relate  of  Queen  Mary,  that  she  should  say,  '  If 
they  did  open  her  when  she  was  dead,  they  should  find  Calais  lying  at 
her  heart ;'  the  loss  of  which,  it  seems,  hastened  her  end. 

1  The  creature  is  all  shadow  and  vanity  ;  it  is  filia  noctis,  like  Jonah's  gourd  ;  it  is  now 
flourishing,  and  now  dying,  &c. 

2  The  golden  crown  cannot  cure  the  headache,  nor  the  chain  of  pearl  cannot  cure  the 
toothache. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  ]  13 

The  prior  in  Melancthon  rolled  his  hands  up  and  down  in  a  basin 
full  of  angels,^  thinking  to  have  charmed  his  gout,  but  it  would  not  do. 
The  precious  gifts  that  Christ  gives  his,  will  bear  up  their  heads  above 
all  waters,  &c.  Of  all  gifts,  they  are  the  most  useful  for  the  producing 
of  the  most  noble  effects.  There  are  no  gifts  produce  such  effects  as  the 
precious  gifts  that  Christ  gives.  They  raise  men  up  to  much  life  and 
activity  ;  they  make  souls  strong  to  do  for  God,  to  bear  for  God,  to  suffer 
for  God  ;  to  be  anything,  to  be  nothing,  that  God  may  be  '  all  in  all.' 
They  raise  the  strongest  joy,  the  most  lasting  comfort,  and  the  purest 
peace.  There  is  no  gifts  draw  out  that  thankfulness,  and  raise  up  to 
that  fruitfulness,  as  the  gifts  that  Jesus  Christ  gives.  And  so  much  for 
that  third  head,  viz.,  the  excellency  of  those  gifts  that  Christ  gives  above 
all  other  gifts  whatsoever. 

I  come  now  to  the  fourth  head,  and  that  is, 

IV.  The  reasons  why  God  gives  his  best  gifts  to  his  dearest  ones. 

I  shall  only  give  you  these  six  : 

[1,]  First,  Because  he  loves  them  with  the  dearest,  with  the  choicest, 
and  luith  the  strongest  love;  therefore  he  gives  them  the  best  gifts. 

Christ  doth  not  love  believers  with  a  low,  flat,  dull,  common  love, 
with  such  a  love  as  most  men  love  one  another  with,  but  with  a  love 
that  is  like  himself  Now,  men  will  give  as  they  love :  1  Sam.  i.  4,  5, 
'  And  Elkanah  gave  to  Peninnah  his  wife,  and  to  all  his  sons  and 
daughters,  portions,  but  unto  Hannah  he  gave  a  worthy  portion,  for  he 
loved  her.'  In  the  Hebrew  it  is,  '  he  gave  her  a  gift  of  the  face  ;'  that 
is,  a  great,  an  honourable  gift.  Men  look  upon  great  and  honourable 
gifts  with  a  sweet  and  cheerful  countenance;  so  the  gifts  that  Jesus 
Christ  gives  to  believers  are  the  gifts  of  the  face,  that  is,  they  are  the 
greatest  gifts,  the  honourablest  gifts,  the  choicest  gifts,  gifts  fit  for  none 
but  a  king  to  give. 

Augustus,  in  his  solemn  feasts,  gave  trifles  to  some,  but  gold  to  others. 
The  Lord  Jesus  scatters  the  trifles  of  this  world  up  and  down ;  as  Luther 
well  speaks,  '  The  whole  Turkish  empire  is  but  a  crust  that  God  throws 
to  a  dog.'  God  scatters  giftless  gifts,  viz.,  the  honours,  riches,  and  favours 
of  this  world,  up  and  down  among  the  worst  of  men  f  but  as  for  his  gold 
— his  Spirit,  his  grace,  his  Son,  his  favour — these  are  jewels  that  he  only 
casts  into  the  bosom  of  saints,  and  that  because  he  dearly  loves  them. 

[2.]  Secondly,  Christ  gives  the  best  gifts  to  his  people,  because  they 
are  best  principled  and  fitted  to  make  a  divine  improvement  of  them. 

There  is  no  men  on  earth  that  are  principled  and  fitted  for  the  im- 
provement of  the  special  gifts  that  Christ  gives  but  his  own  people.^ 
None  have  such  principles  of  wisdom,  love,  holiness,  and  faithfulness  to 
make  an  improvement  of  the  joy,  the  peace,  the  comfort,  that  the  Lord 
gives  as  his  people  ;  ergo.  .  .  .  Abraham  gave  unto  *  the  sons  of  the  con- 

'  *  Coin,'  so-called.— G. 

*  Mundus  cadaver  est,  et  venantes  eum  sunt  canes;  the  world  is  a  carcase,  and  those  that 
hunt  after  it  are  dogs,  is  an  Arabic  proverb, 

'  "Wicked  men  are  only  principled  to  abuse  mercy,  which  occasions  God  so  often  to 
rain  hell  out  of  heaven  upon  them,  as  he  did  once  upon  Sodom  and  Gomorrah  for  abusing 
of  mercy, 

VOL.  III.  H 


114  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

cubines  gifts,  and  sent  them  away ;  but  unto  Isaac  he  gave  all  that  he 
had,'  Gen.  xxv.  5.  As  Isaac  was  better  beloved  than  the  concubines' 
sons,  so  Isaac  was  better  principled  to  improve  love  than  they  were. 
The  application  is  easy. 

[3.]  Thirdly,  He  doth  it  upon  this  account,  that  he  Tnay  the  more  en- 
dear the  hearts  of  his  people  to  him. 

The  greatest  design  of  Christ  in  this  world  is  mightily  to  endear  the 
hearts  of  his  people ;  and  indeed  it  was  that  which  was  in  his  eye 
and  upon  his  heart  from  all  eternity.  It  was  this  design  that  caused  him 
to  lay  down  his  crown  and  to  take  up  our  cross,  to  put  off  his  robes 
and  to  put  on  our  rags,  to  be  condemned  that  we  might  be  justified, 
to  undergo  the  wrath  of  the  Almighty  that  we  might  for  ever  be  in  the 
arms  of  his  mercy.  He  gives  his  Spirit,  his  grace,  yea,  and  his  very  self, 
and  all  to  endear  the  hearts  of  his  people  to  himself.  When  Isaac 
would  endear  the  heart  of  Eebekah,  then  the  bracelets,  the  jewels,  and 
the  earrings  are  cast  into  her  bosom,  Gen.  xxiv.  53.  So  the  Lord  Jesus 
casts  his  heavenly  bracelets,  jewels,  and  earrings  into  the  bosoms,  into 
the  laps,  of  his  people,  oat  of  a  design  to  endear  himself  unto  them :  Pro  v. 
xvii.  8,  '  A  gift  is  a  precious  stone  in  the  eyes  of  him  that  hath  it ; 
whithersoever  it  turneth,  it  prospereth.'  In  the  Hebrew  it  is  thus,  *  a 
gift  is  as  a  stone  of  grace,'  |Tp^,  that  is,  it  makes  a  man  very  acceptable 
and  gracious  in  the  eyes  of  others.  A  gift  is  like  that  precious  stone 
pantarbe,  that  hath  a  marvellous  conciliating  property  in  it ;  or  like 
the  wonder-working  loadstone,  that,  as  some  writers  observe,  hath 
among  other  properties  this,  that  it  makes  those  that  have  it  well-spoken 
men  and  well  accepted  of  princes.  Certainly  the  gifts  that  Jesus  Christ 
gives  to  his  do  render  him  very  acceptable  and  precious  in  their  eyes. 
Christ  to  them  is  the  crown  of  crowns,  the  heaven  of  heavens,  the  glory 
of  glories  ;  he  is  the  most  sparkling  diamond  in  the  ring  of  glory:  Prov. 
xviii.  16,  *  A  man's  gift  maketh  room  for  him,  and  bringeth  him  before 
great  men.'  The  gifts  that  Jesus  Christ  gives  widen  the  heart  and  en- 
large the  soul  of  a  believer  to  take  in  more  of  himself.  Naturally  we 
are  narrow-mouthed  heavenward  and  wide-mouthed  earthward;  but  the 
Lord  Jesus,  by  casting  in  his  jewels,  his  pearls,  his  precious  gifts,  into 
the  soul,  doth  widen  the  soul,  and  enlarge  the  soul,  and  make  it  more 
capacious  to  entertain  himself.  Christ  by  his  gifts  causes  all  doors  to 
stand  open,  that  '  the  King  of  glory  may  enter  in,'  Ps.  xxiv.  7-10. 

4.  Now  the  fourth  reason  of  the  point  is,  because  Christ  expects  m,ore 
froTfh  his  people,  than  he  doth  from  all  the  world  besides,  therefore  he 
gives  them  the  best  gifts} 

"Where  the  Lord  expects  and  looks  for  most,  there  he  gives  most. 
Though  believers  are  but  '  a  little  flock/  though  they  are  but  '  a  rem- 
nant,' though  they  are  but  'a  fountain  sealed,  a  spring  shut  up,  a 
garden  enclosed,'  yet  Christ  looks  for  more  from  them,  than  from  all 
the  world  besides.  He  looks  for  more  love  from  them,  than  from  all 
the  world  besides ;  and  he  expects  more  service  from  them,  than  from  all 
the  world  besides  ;  and  he  looks  for  more  honour  from  them  than  from 
all  the  world  besides  :  Mai.  i.  6,  '  A  son  honoureth  his  father,  and  a 

*  It  was  a  good  saying  of  Justin  Martyr,  Ifon  in  verbis,  sed  in  factis  res  nostrce  reli- 
gionis  consistunt.  God  loves,  saith  Lutlier,  ctiristas,  not  qucenstas,  the  runner,  not  the 
questioner,  &c. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  KICHES  OF  CHRIST.  115 

servant  his  master  :  If  I  am  your  father,  where  is  my  honour  ?  and  if  I 
am  your  master,  where  is  my  fear  f  He  looks  for  more  fear  from  them 
than  from  all  the  world  besides,  and  for  more  honour  from  them  than 
from  all  the  world  besides,  and  for  more  prayers  and  praises  from  them 
than  from  all  the  world  besides. 

[5.]  Fifthly,  The  Lord  Jesus  gives  the  test  gifts  to  his  own  people, 
that  he  may  fence  and  strengthen  them  against  the  worst  tempta- 
tions. 

There  are  no  men  on  earth  that  lie  open  to  temptations,  as  saints. 
The  best  men  have  been  always  the  most  tempted.  The  more  excellent 
any  man  is  in  grace  and  holiness,  the  more  shall  that  man  be  followed 
with  temptations,  as  you  may  see  in  David,  who  was  tempted  by  Satan 
to  number  the  people  ;  and  Job,  to  curse  God  and  die  ;  and  Peter,  to 
deny  Christ ;  and  so  Paul  was  buffeted,  yea,  and  Christ  himself  most 
grievously  assaulted.  The  Lord  knows  well  enough  that  Satan  hath  a 
cruel  eye,  an  envious  eye,  a  malicious  eye  upon  his  beloved  ones,  and 
therefore  he  is  pleased,  by  his  precious  gifts,  to  strengthen  them  against 
his  assaults.  What  Paul  once  said  concerning  bonds  and  afflictions, 
that  they  attended  him  '  in  every  place,'  that  may  believers  say  con- 
cerning temptations,  that  they  attend  them  in  'every  place,'  in  every 
calling,  in  every  condition,  in  every  company,  in  every  service,  &c.  As 
now,  that  the  hearts  of  his  people  and  temptations  may  not  meet,  the 
Lord  is  pleased  to  give  them  the  best  and  choicest  gifts.^ 

Austin  thanked  God  for  this,  that  his  heart  and  the  temptations  did 
not  meet.  The  Lord  hath  on  purpose  given  these  glorious  gifts  into  the 
hearts  of  his  saints,  that  their  souls  and  temptations  may  be  kept 
asunder  ;  that  though  they  be  tempted,  yet  they  may  not  be  conquered  ; 
though  they  be  assaulted,  yet  they  may  not  be  vanquished.^  Basil, 
Luther,  Vincentius,  and  that  famous  marquis  Galeacius  [Carraciolus], 
&c.,  met  with  very  strange  and  strong  temptations,  but  the  precious 
gifts  that  the  Lord  had  cast  into  their  bosoms  made  them  triumph  over 
all.3  Oh  that  grace,  that  peace,  that  life,  that  love,  that  communion 
with  which  the  Lord  had  crowned  them,  made  them  too  great,  too 
noble,  and  too  glorious  to  yield  to  any  temptations  with  which  they  were 
beset.  It  was  their  pleasure  to  overcome  offered  pleasure,  their  honour 
to  overcome  offered  honour,  their  greatness  to  overcome  offered  great- 
ness. When  one  of  them  was  tempted  with  money  and  preferment,  he 
scorned  the  offers,  saying,  Give  me  money  that  may  last  for  ever,  and 
glory  that  may  eternally  flourish.* 

Jerome  tells  a  story  of  a  Christian  soldier,^  whom  when  the  prsetor 
could  not  by  any  torments  remove  from  Christianity,  he  commanded  to 
be  laid  on  a  bed  in  a  pleasant  garden,  among  the  flourishing  and  fragrant 
flowers  ;  which  done,  all  others  withdrawing,  a  most  beautiful  harlot 
came  to  him,  and  used  all  art  to  destroy  his  soul ;  but  the  Christian 
soldier  being  filled  with  the  royal  gifts  of  the  Spirit,  bit  off  his  tongue 

*  Some  say  that  the  panther  will  leap  three  times  after  his  prey,  hut  if  he  miss  it  the 
third  time,  he  will  leap  no  more.  It  were  well  for  saints  if  Satan  would  do  so.  &c.,  1 
Chron.  xxi.  1  ;  Job  ii.  9  ;  Mat.  xxvi.  41  ;  2  Cor.  xii.  7  ;  Mat.  iv.  1-12  ;  Acts  xx.  23. 

2   Vigilat  diaholus  et  tu  dormis  ?  the  devil  watcheth,  and  dost  thou  sleep? 
'  Effo  non  sum  ego,  said  that  noble  convert  when  he  met  with  a  temptation. 

*  Pecuniam  da  qncs  permanaat  ac  continuo  duret,  gloriam  quce  semper  for  eat. — Basil. 

*  Jerome  in  vita  Pauli. 


116  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

with  his  teeth,  and  spat  it  in  her  face  as  she  was  tempting  him,  and  so 
got  victory  over  all  her  temptations. 

The  precious  favours  God  confers  upon  his,  make  them  temptation- 
proof  ;  they  make  believers  trample  upon  the  most  amiable  baits. 
'  How  can  I  do  this  great  wickedness,  and  sin  against  God,'  says  Joseph. 
Joseph's  sense  of  Potiphar's  favours  heaped  upon  him,  strengthened  him 
against  the  impudent  solicitations  of  his  wanton  mistress,  Gen.  xxxix. 
And  shall  not  the  singular  favours  that  God  confers  upon  his  dearest 
ones  strengthen  them  against  Satan's  assaults  ?  Surely  gracious  hearts 
are  wrought  more  upon,  and  bettered  and  strengthened  more  by  spirit- 
uals than  by  temporals  ;  by  eternals  than  by  externals ;  and  if  Satan 
do  not  find  it  so,  I  am  much  mistaken. 

Well,  remember  this,  Satan's  overcoming  the  saints  gives  him  the 
greatest  advantage  to  boast  and  triumph  over  Christ.^ 

Ambrose  brings  in  the  devil  boasting  against  Christ,  and  challenging 
Judas  as  his  own  ;  He  is  not  thine.  Lord  Jesus,  saith  he,  he  is  mine  ;  his 
thoughts  beat  for  me  ;  he  eats  with  thee,  but  he  is  fed  by  me  ;  he  takes 
bread  from  thee,  but  money  from  me ;  he  drinks  with  thee,  but  sells 
thy  blood  to  me.  So  when  Satan  prevails  over  the  saints,  look,  O 
Christ,  says  he,  are  these  the  price  of  thy  blood  ?  are  these  the  objects  of 
thy  love  ?  are  these  the  delight  of  thy  soul  ?  what,  are  these  thy  jewels  ? 
are  these  the  apple  of  thy  eye  1  are  these  thy  pleasant  portion  ?  Why, 
lo  how  I  lead  them  !  lo  how  I  triumph  over  them  !  they  seem  rather  to 
be  mine  than  thine.  Ah,  Christians  !  resist  as  for  life,  that  Satan  may 
never  have  occasion  thus  to  insult  and  triumph  over  Christ,  &c. 

[6.]  Sixthly  and  lastly,  Christ  gives  the  best  gifts  to  his  dearest  ones, 
that  they  may  be  an  honour  and  a  praise  unto  him  in  the  glorious 
day  of  his  owning  of  them,  and  marHage  to  them  before  all  the  world. 

Believers  in  this  life  are  but  betrothed  to  Christ :  '  I  will  betroth  thee 
unto  me  for  ever  ;  yea,  I  will  betroth  thee  unto  me  in  righteousness, 
and  in  judgment,  and  in  loving-kindness,'  Hosea  ii.  19,  20.  Their 
marriage-day  is  put  off  till  the  glorious  day  of  Christ's  appearing  ;  the 
great  day  of  his  glory  will  be  the  day  of  solemnity ;  Rev.  xxi.  2,  9,  10, 
compared.^  It  would  not  be  for  the  honour  and  glory  of  Christ,  that 
his  spouse  in  that  day  should  be  clothed  with  rags  ;  therefore  he  hath 
given  them  the  bracelets,  the  ear-rings,  and  the  jewels  before-hand,  that 
they  may  be  a  praise  and  an  honour  to  him  in  the  marriage  day.  Oh  ! 
when  the  saints  shall  appear  with  all  those  glorious  jewels  about  them, 
that  Christ  hath  bequeathed  to  them,  how  will  their  splendid  glory 
darken  all  other  glory,  and  make  the  very  sun  to  hide  its  face.  This  is 
our  betrothing  day,  that  will  be  our  marriage  day. 

Bishop  Ridley,  the  night  before  he  suffered,  invited  his  hostess  and  the 
rest  at  table  to  his  marriage,  '  for,'  said  he,  '  to-morrow  I  must  be  mar- 
ried.'^ so  several  other  martyrs  went  as  merrily  to  die,  as  to  dine  ; 
knowing  that  their  dying  day  did  but  make  way  for  their  marriage  day. 
The  Lord  doth  by  his  rich  and  royal  favours  trick  and  trim  up  his  bride 
beforehand,  that  she  may  be  an  honour  and  a  praise  to  him  in  the  day 

^  The  devil  marcheth  well  armed  and  in  good  array,  saith  Luther. 

2  The  good  things  of  eternal  life  are  so  many,  that  they  exceed  number ;  so  great,  that 
they  exceed  measure ;  so  precious,  that  they  are  above  all  estimation. — Augustine,  de 
Triplici  habitu,  cap.  4.  ^  Foxe,  as  before. — G. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  EICHES  OF  CHRIST.  117 

of  coronation,  in  the  day  of  marriage,  in  the  day  of  solemnity,  when  he 
will  own  her  before  devils,  angels,  and  all  reprobates  ;  when  he  will  say, 
'  Lo,  here  am  I,  and  the  bride,  O  Father  1  that  thou  hast  given  me." 

And  thus  you  have  a  brief  account  of  the  reasons  of  the  point,  why 
the  Lord  gives  the  best  gifts  to  his  own  people. 

We  shall  make  some  short  but  sweet  uses  of  this  point. 
And,  firsty 

[1 .]  Doth  the  Lord  give  the  best  and  greatest  gifts  to  his  people  ? 
Then  you  that  are  his  people,  sit  down  and  wonder  at  this  condescend- 
ing love  of  God. 

Oh !  what  is  in  thy  soul  or  in  my  soul,  that  should  cause  the  Lord  to 
give  such  gifts  to  us  as  he  hath  given  ?  We  were  all  equal  in  sin  and 
misery ;  nay,  doubtless,  we  have  actually  outsinned  thousands,  to  whom 
these  precious  gifts  are  denied.  Let  us  therefore  sit  down  and  wonder 
at  this  condescending  love  of  God.  Oh!  we  were  once  poor  wretches 
sitting  upon  the  dunghill,  yea,  wallowing  in  our  blood,  and  yet  behold 
the  King  of  kings,  the  Lord  of  lords,  hath  so  far  condescended  in  his 
love,  as  to  bestow  himself,  his  Spirit,  his  grace,  and  all  the  jewels  of  his 
royal  crown  upon  us.  Oh  !  what  heart  can  conceive,  what  tongue  can 
express,  this  matchless  love  !  I  will  be  thine  for  ever,  says  Christ,  and 
my  Spirit  shall  be  thine  for  ever,  and  my  grace  thine  for  ever,  and  my 
glory  thine  for  ever,  and  my  righteousness  thine  for  ever ;  all  I  am  and 
all  I  have,  shall  be  thine  for  ever.  O  sirs !  what  condescending  love 
is  this.     Oh  !  what  a  Christ  is  this.^ 

[2.]  But  then,  secondly,  Be  greatly  thankful,  oh  he  greatly  thankful 
for  the  great  gift  that  Christ  hath  bestowed  upon  you. 

It  is  not  a  little  thankfulness  that  will  answer  and  suit  to  the  great 
gifts  that  the  Lord  Jesus  hath  bestowed  upon  you.  Oh  say  with  the 
psalmist,  '  What  shall  I  render  to  the  Lord  for  all  his  favours,  and  great 
benefits.  I  will  take  the  cup  of  salvation,  and  will  call  upon  the  name 
of  the  Lord,'  Ps.  cxvi.  13,  14.  Yea,  say  again  with  the  psalmist,  'I  will 
praise  thee  more  and  more.'  Or  as  it  is  in  the  Hebrew,  *  I  will  add  to 
thy  praise,'  Ps.  Ixxi  14.  Oh  when  thou  lookest  upon  the  jewels,  the 
pearls  that  Christ  hath  given  thee,  say,  Lord,  I  will  praise  thee  more 
and  more,  I  will  rise  higher  and  higher  in  thy  praises,  I  will  be  still 
a-adding  to  thy  praise.  The  very  law  of  nature  bespeaks  great  thank- 
fulness, where  great  favours  are  given  ;  and  the  law  of  custom  bespeaks 
it,  and  doth  not  the  law  of  grace  bespeak  it  m\ich  more  f 

When  Tamerlane  had  taken  Bajazet,  among  other  questions  he  asked 
him  *  if  ever  he  had  given  God  thanks  for  making  him  so  great  an 
emperor  V  He  confessed  immediately,  that  *  he  never  thought  of  that ;' 
to  whom  Tamerlane  replied,  'It  is  no  wonder  so  ungrateful  a  man  should 
be  made  a  spectacle  of  misery.^  Oh  !  what  do  they  then  deserve  that 
are  unthankful  for  spiritual  favours.  Tell  me,  0  Christians,  are  not  the 
gifts  that  Christ  hath  conferred  upon  you,  peculiar  gifts  ?  And  will 
you  not  be  thankful  for  them  ?     Were  they  but  common  gifts,  you 

*  0  Lord  Jesus,  saith  Bernard,  breaking  forth  into  an  admiration  of  Christ's  love,  I 
love  thee  plusquam  mea,  plusquam  meos,  plusquam  me,  more  than  all  my  goods,  more  than 
all  my  friends,  yea,  more  than  my  very  self,  &c.     [Sermons  on  Canticles,  as  before. — C4.] 

2  Injuries  shall  be  writ  in  the  dust,  but  our  mercies  on  marble,  that  our  hearts  may  be 
the  better  provoked  to  praise  and  thankfulness. 

3  Turk.  Hist.  220,  &c.     [Knolles,  as  before.— G.} 


118  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  Ill  8. 

ought  to  be  thankful  for  them  ;  how  much  more  then  for  peculiar  gifts, 
for  right-handed  favours  ?  Tell  me,  are  not  the  gifts  that  Christ  hath 
given  thee  rare  gifts  ?  What  hadst  thou  been  if  Christ  had  not  made 
a  difference  between  thee  and  others,  by  those  glorious  gifts  that  he 
hath  conferred  upon  thee  ?  Thou  lookest  upon  some,  and  seest  they 
are  very  ignorant.  Oh  1  what  hadst  thou  been  if  God  had  not  bestowed 
that  grace  of  knowledge  upon  thee  ?  Thou  lookest  upon  other  persons 
that  are  unclean,  profane,  and  filthy.  Why !  such  a  wretch  wouldst 
thou  have  been,  if  the  Lord  had  not  made  a  difference  between  thee  and 
them,  by  bestowing  himself,  his  grace,  and  Spirit  upon  thee.'^ 

It  was  long  since  determined  in  the  schools,  that  'penitents  had  more 
reason  to  be  thankful  than  innocent ;  sin  giving  an  advantage  to  mercy 
to  be  doubly  free  in  giving  and  in  pardoning;'  and  so  the  greater 
obligation  is  left  upon  us  to  thankfulness. 

Luther  hath  a  very  famous  story,  in  his  writing  upon  the  fourth 
commandment,  in  the  time  of  the  council  of  Constanca  He  tells  you 
of  two  cardinals,  that  as  they  were  riding  to  the  council,  they  saw  a 
shepherd  in  the  field  weeping.  One  of  them  being  affected  with  his 
weeping,  rode  to  him  to  comfort  him  ;  and  coming  near  to  him  he  de- 
sired to  know  the  reason  of  his  weeping.  The  shepherd  was  unwilling 
to  tell  him  at  first,  but  at  last  he  told  him,  saying,  '  I  looking  upon  this 
toad  considered  that  I  never  praised  God  as  I  ought,  for  making  me 
such  an  excellent  creature  as  a  man,  comely  and  reasonable.  I  have 
not  blessed  him  that  he  made  me  not  such  a  deformed  toad  as  this.' 
The  cardinal  hearing  this,  and  considering  that  God  had  done  far 
greater  things  for  him  than  for  this  poor  shepherd,  he  fell  down  dead 
from  his  mule ;  his  servants  lifting  him  up,  and  bringing  him  to  the 
city,  he  came  to  life  again,  and  then  cried  out,  'O  St  Austin!  how  truly 
didst  thou  say,  the  unlearned  rise  and  take  heaven  by  force,  and  we 
with  all  our  learning  wallow  in  flesh  and  blood.'^  The  application  is 
easy. 

Thirdly,  The  next  use  is, 

[3.]  If  the  Lord  hath  given  the  best  gifts  to  his  'people,  then  oh  that 
his  people  would  not  give  God  the  worst,  but  the  best  of  everything.^ 

Oh  !  give  the  Lord  the  best  of  your  strength,  the  best  of  your  time, 
the  best  of  your  mercies,  and  the  best  of  your  services,  who  hath  given 
to  your  souls  the  best  of  gifts :  Num.  xviii.  29,  '  Out  of  all  your  gifts 
ye  shall  offer  every  heave-offering  of  the  Lord,  of  all  the  best  thereof, 
even  the  hallowed  part  thereof,  out  of  it.'  So  I  say,  of  all  thy  offerings 
offer  God  the  best,  who  hath  given  to  thee  the  best  and  greatest  gifts. 
So  in  Exod.  xxxv.  22,  '  For  the  service  of  the  tabernacle  they  brought 
bracelets,  and  ear-rings,  and  tables,  all  jewels  of  gold  :  and  every  man 
that  offered,  offered  an  offering  of  gold  unto  the  Lord.'  They  gave  the 
best  of  the  best,  and  so  must  we.  Oh  do  not  offer  to  God  the  worst  of 
your  time,  the  worst  of  your  strength,  the  worst  of  your  mercies,  the 

'  There  are  but  few  upon  whom  God  bestoweth  his  love.  It  was  always  a  principle  in 
morality,  that  sweet  and  intimate  friendship  cannot  be  extended  to  many.  Friends 
usually  go  by  pairs. 

2  Augustine,  Confessions,  b.  viii.  c.  8.  '  Surgunt  indocti  et  ccelum  rapiunt,  et  nos 
cum  doctrinis  nostris  sine  corde,  ecce  ubi  volutamur  in  carne  et  sanguine.'— G. 

^  It  is  the  most  wicked  avarice  to  defraud  God  of  the  oblation  of  ourselves,  saith  Chrys- 
ostom. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  EICHES  OF  CHRIST.  119 

worst  of  your  services.  That  same  is  a  very  dreadful  text :  Mai.  i.  8, 
13,  14,  compared,  'And  if  ye  offer  the  blind  for  sacrifice,  is  it  not  evil? 
and  if  ye  offer  the  lame  and  sick,  is  it  not  evil  ?  offer  it  now  unto  thy 
governor  ;  will  he  be  pleased  with  it,  and  accept  thy  person  ?  saith  the 
Lord  of  hosts.'  Saith  God,  Will  men  be  put  off  thus  ?  No,  I  know 
they  won't ;  and  why  then  should  you  deal  worse  with  me  than  with 
men  ?  Thy  governors  will  have  the  best,  ay,  the  best  of  the  best ;  and 
will  you  deal  worse  with  me,  saith  God,  than  with  your  governors  V 
Will  you  thus  requite  me  for  all  my  favours,  0  foolish  people  and  un- 
wise ?  is  this  your  kindness  to  your  friend  ?  Ver.  13,  14,  *  Ye  said  also, 
Behold,  what  a  weariness  is  it !  and  ye  have  snuffed  at  it,  saith  the 
Lord  of  hosts:  and  ye  have  brought  that  which  was  torn,  and  the  lame, 
and  the  sick ;  thus  ye  brought  an  offering :  should  I  accept  this  of  your 
hands  ?  saith  the  Lord.'  Oh  !  that  God  had  not  cause  to  complain  thus 
of  many  of  your  souls,  to  whom  he  hath  shewn  much  love.  But  mark 
what  follows:  ver.  14,  'But  cursed  be  the  deceiver,  which  hath  in  his 
flock  a  male,  and  voweth,  and  sacrificeth  unto  the  Lord  a  corrupt  thing : 
for  I  am  a  great  King,  saith  the  Lord  of  hosts,  and  my  name  is  dreadful 
among  the  heathen.'  If  you  have  better  in  your  hands,  and  yet  shall 
go  to  put  off  God  with  the  worst,  the  curse  will  follow.  Think  of  it  and 
tremble,  all  you  that  deal  fraudulently  and  false-heartedly  with  God. 
Ah,  Christians !  you  must  say,  World,  stand  behind ;  sin  and  Satan,  get 
you  behind  us,  for  the  best  gifts,  the  choicest  favours  that  ever  were 
given,  we  have  received  from  the  Father  of  lights  ;  and  therefore  by  his 
gifts  he  hath  obliged  our  souls  to  give  him  the  best  of  our  time,  strength, 
and  services ;  and  therefore  we  will  not  be  at  your  call  or  beck  any 
longer.  Oh,  say,  the  Lord  hath  given  us  the  best  gifts,  and  '  Cursed 
be  the  deceiver,  which  hath  in  his  flock  a  male,  and  voweth,  and  sacri- 
ficeth unto  the  Lord  a  corrupt  thing.' 

[4.]  Fourthly,  This  should  bespeak  the  people  of  God  to  trust  and 
lean  upon  God  for  lesser  gifts. 

Hath  God  given  thee  a  crown,  and  wilt  thou  not  trust  him  for  a 
crumb  ?  2  Tim.  iv.  8.  Hath  he  given  thee  a  house  that  hath  '  founda- 
tions, whose  builder  and  maker  is  God?'  Heb.  xi.  15.  Hath  he  given 
thee  '  a  kingdom  that  shakes  not'  ?  Heb.  xii.  28.  And  wilt  thou  not 
trust  him  for  a  cottage,  for  a  little  house-room  in  this  world  ?  Hath 
he  given  thee  himself,  his  Son,  his  Spirit,  his  grace ;  and  wilt  thou  not 
trust  him  to  give  thee  bread,  and  friends,  and  clothes^  and  other 
necessary  mercies  that  he  knows  thou  needest  ?  Rom.  viii.  32,  Mat.  vi. 
32.  Hath  he  given  thee  the  greater,  and  will  he  stand  with  thee  for 
the  lesser?  Surely  no.  Wilt  thou  trust  that  man  for  much,  that  hath 
given  thee  but  a  little  ?  And  wilt  thou  not  trust  that  God  for  a  little, 
that  hath  given  thee  much  ?  Wilt  thou  not  trust  him  for  pence,  that 
hath  given  thee  pounds  ?  O  sirs !  hath  the  Lord  given  you  himself, 
the  best  of  favours ;  and  will  not  you  trust  him  for  the  least  favours  ? 
Hath  he  given  you  pearls,  and  will  not  you  trust  him  for  pins  ?  &c. 
Doth  not  the  apostle  argue  sweetly  ?  Rom.  viii.  32,   '  He  that  spared 

'  If  a  man  should  serve  the  Lord  a  thousand  years,  saith  Austin,  it  would  not  deserve 
an  hour  of  the  reward  in  heaven  ;  no,  not  a  moment,  much  less  an  eternity.  And  there- 
fore, says  he,  we  had  need  do  as  much  as  we  can,  and  do  all  that  we  do  as  well  as  we 
can,  fee. 


120  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

not  his  own  Son,  but  delivered  him  up  for  us  all,  how  shall  he  not  with 
him  also  freely  give  us  all  things  ?'  What !  says  the  apostle,  hath  he 
given  us  his  Son,  his  only  Son,  his  bosom  Son,  his  beloved  Son,  the  Son 
of  his  joy,  the  Son  of  his  delights  ?  Oh  how  can  he  then  but  cast  in. 
all  other  things,  as  paper  and  pack-thread,  into  the  bargain?  Oh  !  that 
Christians  would  learn  to  reason  themselves  out  of  their  fears,  and  out 
qf  their  distrusts,  as  the  apostle  doth.  Oh  !  that  Christians  would  no 
longer  rend  and  rack  their  precious  souls  with  fears  and  cares,  but  rest 
satisfied  in  this,  that  he  that  hath  been  so  kind  to  them  in  spirituals, 
will  not  be  wanting  to  them  in  temporals,^  Prov.  viii.  23-32. 

[5.]  Fifthly,  //  the  Lord  hath  given  the  best  gifts  to  his  people,  this 
should  then  bespeak  his  people,  not  to  envy  the  men  of  the  world 
for  those  lesser  favours  that  God  hath  conferred  upon  them. 

It  was  horrid  wickedness  in  Ahab  to  envy  poor  Naboth,  because  of 
his  vineyard  ;  and  is  it  a  virtue  in  you  that  are  Christians  to  envy 
others,  because  their  outward  mercies  are  greater  or  sweeter  than  yours? 
Should  the  prince  upon  whose  head  the  royal  crown  is  set,  and  about 
whose  neck  the  golden  chain  is  put,  envy  those  whose  hands  are  full  of 
sugar-plums,  and  whose  laps  are  full  of  rosemary,  &c.  Hath  not  God, 
O  Christians  !  put  a  royal  crown  of  glory  upon  your  heads,  and  a  golden 
chain  of  grace  about  your  necks,  and  his  Son's  glorious  robe  upon  your 
backs  ?  and  why  then  should  your  hearts  rise  against  others'  mercies  ? 
O  !  reason  yourselves  out  of  this  sinful  temper.^ 

I  would  have  every  Christian  thus  to  argue :  Hath  not  the  Lord  given 
me  himself  ?  Is  not  one  dram  of  that  grace  that  God  hath  given  me, 
more  worth  than  ten  thousand  worlds  ?  and  w^hy  then  should  I  envy  at 
others'  mercies  ? 

There  was  a  soldier  which,  for  breaking  his  rank  in  reaching  after  a 
bunch  of  grapes,  was  condemned  to  die  by  martial  law,  and  as  he  went 
to  execution,  he  went  eating  of  his  grapes ;  upon  which,  some  of  his 
fellow-soldiers  were  somewhat  troubled,  saying,  '  He  ought  then  to  mind 
somewhat  else;'  to  whom  he  said,  *  I  beseech  you,  sirs,  do  not  envy  me 
my  grapes,  they  will  cost  me  dear ;  you  would  be  loath  to  have  them 
at  the  rate  that  I  must  pay  for  them.'  So  say  I,  O  saints  !  do  not  envy 
the  men  of  this  world  because  of  their  honours,  riches,  &c.,  for  you 
would  be  loath  to  have  them  at  that  rate  that  they  must  pay  for  them. 
Oh !  there  is  a  day  of  reckoning  a-coming,  a  day  wherein  all  the  nobles 
and  brave  gallants  in  the  world  must  be  brought  to  the  bar,  and  give  an 
account  how  they  have  improved  and  employed  all  the  favours  that  God 
hath  conferred  upon  them ;  therefore  envy  them  not.  Is  it  madness 
and  folly  in  a  great  favourite  at  court,  to  envy  those  that  feast  them- 
selves with  the  scraps  that  come  from  the  prince's  table  ?  Oh  !  then, 
what  madness  and  folly  is  it  that  the  favourites  of  heaven  should  envy 
the  men  of  the  world,  who  at  best  do  but  feed  upon  the  scraps  that 
come  from  God's  table !  Spirituals  are  the  choice  meat,  temporals  are 
but  the  scraps.     Temporals  are  the  bones,  spirituals  are  the  marrow. 

Is  it  below  a  man  to  envy  the  dogs  because  of  the  bones  ?    And  is  it 


'  Tantum  possumus,  quantum  credimus. — Cyprian. 

^  David  three  several  times  gave  himself  this  counsel,  not  to  envy  at  others.     Ps. 
xxxvii.  1,  7,  8,  compared.     So  Ps.  Ixxiii.  21. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  EICHES  OF  CHRIST.  1 21 

not  much  more  below  a  Christian  to  envy  others  for  temporals,  when 
himself  enjoys  spirituals  ? 

[6.]  Sixthly,  Be  not  troubled  for  the  want  of  lesser  gifts. 

It  is  to  me  a  sad  thing  to  see  gracious  souls,  that  have  some  comfortable 
satisfaction  in  their  own  hearts  that  the  Lord  hath  given  Christ  and  grace 
to  them,  John  xiv.  1-3,  &c.,  go  up  and  down  whining  and  weeping  be- 
cause they  have  not  health,  or  wealth,  or  child,  or  trade,  &c.,  when  the 
Lord  hath  bestowed  upon  them  such  choice,  spiritual  blessings,  the  least  of 
which  will  outweigh  all  temporal  blessings.  Well,  Christians,  remem- 
ber this,  you  act  below  your  spiritual  birth,  your  holy  calling,  when  you 
suffer  your  hearts  to  be  troubled  and  perplexed  for  the  want  of  tem- 
poral things.  Can  you  read  special  love  in  these?  Doth  your  happiness 
lie  in  the  enjoyment  of  them  ?  Are  not  the  angels  happy  without  them? 
Was  not  Lazarus  more  happy  than  Dives  ?  Yes.  Oh  !  then,  let  not  the 
want  of  those  things  trouble  thee,  the  enjoyment  of  which  can  never 
make  thee  happy.  Should  the  child  be  troubled  for  want  of  a  rattle 
or  a  baby,^  that  is  proclaimed  heir  of  a  crown  ?  And  why  then  should 
a  Christian,  that  is  heir-apparent  to  a  heavenly  crown,  be  troubled  upon 
the  want  of  worldly  toys  ?  &c. 

Jerome  tells  us  of  .one  Didymus,  a  godly  preacher,  who  was  blind  ; 
Alexander,  a  godly  man,  coming  to  him,  asked  him  whether  he  was  not 
sore  troubled  and  afflicted  for  want  of  his  sight  ?  *  Oh  yes,'  said  Didy- 
mus, '  it  is  a  great  affliction  and  trouble  to  me."  Then  Alexander  chid 
him,  saying,  Hath  God  given  you  the  excellency  of  an  angel,  of  an 
apostle,  and  are  you  troubled  for  that  which  rats  and  mice  and  brute 
beasts  have.^ 

It  is  great  folly,  it  is  double  iniquity  for  a  Christian  to  be  troubled 
for  the  want  of  those  things  that  God  ordinarily  bestows  upon  the  worst 
of  men.  Oh  the  mercies  that  a  Christian  hath  in  hand,  oh  the  mer- 
cies that  a  Christian  hath  in  the  promises,  oh  the  mercies  that  a 
Christian  hath  in  hope,  are  so  many,  so  precious,  and  so  glorious,  that 
they  should  bear  up  his  head  and  heart  from  fainting  and  sinking  under 
all  outward  wants. 

There  goes  a  story  amoijg  scholars  of  ^sop's  deceiving  Mercury,  he 
having  promised  him  one  part  of  his  nuts,  keeps  all  the  meat  to  himself, 
and  gives  the  other  the  shells.  Ah,  Christians  !  God  hath  given  you  the 
meat,  but  the  world  the  shells ;  why  then  should  you  be  troubled  for 
want  of  the  shells,  when  God  hath  given  you  the  kernel  ]  &c.^ 

[7.]  Seventhly,  //  the  Lord  hath  given  his  people  the  best  gifts,  oh 
then,  let  not  them  leave  off  that  God  that  hath  bestowed  such  choice 
and  noble  favours  on  them. 

Jer.  ii.  11-13,  '  Hath  a  nation  changed  their  gods,  which  are  yet  no 
gods  ?  but  my  people  have  changed  their  glory  for  that  which  doth  not 
profit :  Be  astonished,  O  ye  heavens,  at  this,  and  be  horribly  afraid, 
be  ye  very  desolate,  saith  the  Lord.'  Whyl  *  For  my  people  have  com- 
mitted two  evils,  they  have  forsaken  me,  the  fountain  of  living  waters,' 
&c.     This  was  that  aggravated  the  Israelites'  sin,  Ps.  cv.  and  cvi.,  that 

•  '  Doll.'— G.  2  Socrates,  H..E.,  lib.  iv.  cap.  xx. 

'  Cyprian,  in  his  sermon  de  lapsis,  reports  of  divers  who,  forsaking  the  Lord,  were 

given  over  to  evil  spirits,  and  died  fearfully.  A  backslider  may  say.  Opera  et  impensa 
periit,  all  my  pains  and  charge  is  lost. 


1 22  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

they  forsook  that  God  that  had  cooferred  upon  them  many  rich  and 
royal  favours.  But  oh  !  then,  what  madness  and  folly  is  it  in  you,  that 
you  should  forsake  that  God  that  hath  done  such  mighty  things  for  your 
souls  ?  I  may  say,  to  keep  you  close  to  God,  as  Saul  said  to  his  servants, 
to  keep  them  close  to  him,  1  Sam.  xxii.  7,  '  Then  Saul  said  unto  his 
servants  that  stood  about  him,  Hear  now,  ye  Benjamites,  will  the  son 
of  Jesse  give  every  one  of  you  fields  and  vineyards,  and  make  you  all 
captains  of  thousands,  and  captains  of  hundreds  V  Ah,  Christians  !  can 
the  world  give  you  spiritual  life  ?  Can  the  world  give  you  peace  of  con- 
science, pardon  of  sin,  the  favour  of  God,  the  hopes  of  glory  ?  No.  Oh 
then !  never  leave  nor  forsake  that  God  that  hath  given  you  all  these 
royal  favours,  which  none  can  give  nor  take,  but  himself  He  that  for- 
sakes God  forsakes  his  own  mercies ;  he  forsakes  his  life,  his  joy,  his 
crown,  his  all  in  all. 

No  evil  to  this,  of  forsaking  the  greatest  good.  It  makes  a  man's 
life  a  very  hell.     *  Such  shall  be  written  in  the  dust,'  Jer.  xvii.  13. 

[8.]  Eighthly  and  lastly,  Be  not  impatient  nor  froward,  when  God 
shall  take  away  some  lesser  mercies  from  you} 

Hath  God  given  you  the  best  and"  the  greatest  gifts  that  your  souls 
can  beg  or  himself  can  give  ?  And  will  you  be  froward  or  impatient 
when  he  shall  come  to  take  away  lesser  mercies  ?  What  ?  wilt  thou  be 
an  impatient  soul,  when  God  comes  and  writes  death  upon  such  a  near 
mercy,  and  passes  the  sentence  of  death  upon  such  and  such  desirable 
mercies  ?  Verily  this  is  the  way  to  provoke  God  to  strip  thee  naked 
of  thy  choicest  ornaments,  and  to  put  thee  in  chains,  or  else  to  turn 
thee  a-grazing  among  the  beasts  of  the  field,  as  he  did  Nebuchadnezzar. 
God  gives  the  best,  and  takes  away  the  worst ;  he  gives  the  greatest, 
and  takes  away  the  least ;  the  sense  of  which  made  Job  bless  God  when 
stripped  of  all.  If  a  man  should  give  you  a  pearl  and  take  away  a  pin ; 
if  he  should  give  you  a  bag  of  gold  and  take  away  a  bag  of  counters, 
would  it  not  be  a  madness  in  you  to  be  impatient,  and  froward  ?  Doth 
God  take  away  a  pin,  and  hath  he  not  given  you  a  pearl  for  it  ?  He 
hath  given  thee  a  pound,  0  Christian !  for  every  penny  that  he  hath 
taken  from  thee ;  therefore  be  not  frowar(^  nor  impatient.  Remem- 
ber, Christians,  how  many  in  the  world  there  be  that  sit  sighing  and 
mourning  under  the  want  of  those  very  favours  that  you  do  enjoy. 
*  Why  does  the  living  man  complain  V  What !  out  of  the  grave,  and 
complain  !  What !  out  of  hell,  and  complain  !  This  is  man's  sin,  and 
God's  wonder. 

But  now  some  poor  sinners  may  say,  Here  is  good  news  for  saints,  but 
what  is  all  this  to  us  all  this  while  ? 

Why,  I  will  tell  you ;  I  have  something  to  say  for  the  comfort  and 
encouragement  of  poor  sinners.  Ah,  sinners  !  Christ  is  willing  to  bestow 
the  best  gifts  upon  the  worst  sinners.  Take  one  text  for  all ;  it  is  a 
sweet  one,  and  full  to  the  point  in  hand:  Ps.  Ixviii.  18,  'Thou  hast 
ascended  on  high,  thou  hast  led  captivity  captive,  thou  hast  received 

^  Diis  proximus  ille  est,  quern  ratio  non  ira  movet,  he  is  next  to  God  whom  reason,  and 
not  anger,  moveth. — Seneca.  \De  Ira  et  De  Animi  Tranquitlitate — G.]  Did  an  impa- 
tient soul  but  see  himself  in  a  glass,  he  would  loathe  himself ;  for,  saith  Homer,  his  eyes 
sparkle  like  fire,  his  heart  swells,  his  pulse  beats,  &c.  In  a  word,  an  impatient  soul  is  a 
bedlam,  a  monster,  a  devil,  &c. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  EICHES  OF  CHRIST.  123 

gifts  for  men,  yea,  for  the  rebellious  also,  that  the  Lord  God  might  dwell 
among  them,'^ 

Christ  hath  received  gifts,  as  a  steward,  from  the  hand  of  the  Father, 
to  dispense  them  among  men,  yea,  among  the  rebellious,  the  worst  of 
men.  If  there  be  here  at  this  time  any  rebellious  sinner,  or  rebellious 
Sabbath-breaker,  or  rebellious  drunkard,  or  rebellious  curser,  &c.,  let 
such  rebellious  sinners  know  that  Christ  hath  received  gifts  '  even  for 
the  rebellious,' 

'  That  the  Lord  God  might  dwell  amongst  them.'^  That  is,  that  the 
Lord  God  might  have  sweet  fellowship  and  communion  with  them : 
*  Behold  I  stand  at  the  door  and  knock  ;  if  any  man  hear  my  voice,  and 
open  the  door,  I  will  come  in  to  him,  and  will  sup  with  him,  and  he 
with  me.' 

'  Behold  I  stand  at  the  door  and  knock.'  I,  that  have  heaven  to  give, 
and  peace  to  give,  and  pardon  to  give,  and  grace  to  give,  and  myself  to 
give  ;  I,  that  have  tried  gold  to  enrich  you,  and  white  raiment  to  clothe 
you,  and  eye-salve  to  anoint  you,  '  I  stand  at  the  door  and  knock ;  if 
any  man  will  open  the  door,'  let  him  be  never  so  guilty,  never  so  filthy, 
never  so  unworthy,  &c.,  '  I  will  come  in  and  sup  with  him,  and  he 
with  me.' 

Lord,  at  whose  door  dost  thou  stand  knocking?  Is  it  at  the  rich 
man's  door,  or  at  the  righteous  man's  door,  or  at  the  humbled  man's 
door,  or  at  the  weary  and  heavy-laden  man's  door,  or  at  the  mourner's 
door,  or  at  the  qualified  or  prepared  man's  door  ?  No,  says  Christ,  it  is 
at  none  of  these  doors.  At  whose  then,  O  blessed  Lord  1  At  the  luke- 
warm Laodicean's  door ;  at  their  door  that  are  neither  hot  nor  cold, 
that  are  '  wretched,  and  miserable,  and  poor,  and  blind,  and  naked.' 
These,  says  Christ,  are  the  worst  of  the  worst ;  and  yet  if  any  of  these 
wretches,  these  monsters  of  mankind,  will  open  the  door,  '  I  will  come 
in,  and  will  sup  with  them,  and  they  with  me.' 

I  have  read  a  remarkable  story  of  a  great  rebel  that  had  raised  a 
mighty  party  against  a  Roman  emperor.  The  emperor  upon  this  being 
much  provoked  and  stirred  in  spirit,  made  a  proclamation,  that  who- 
soever brought  in  the  rebel,  dead  or  alive,  should  have  a  great  sum  of 
money.  The  rebel,  hearing  of  this,  comes  and  presents  himself  unto 
the  emperor,  and  demanded  of  him  the  sum  of  money ;  whereupon  the 
emperor  reasons  thus,  '  If  I  should  now  cut  him  off,  the  world  would 
say  I  did  it  to  save  my  money ;'  and  so  he  pardoned  him,  and  gave  him 
the  great  sum  of  money,  notwithstanding  all  his  former  rebellion.^ 

Oh !  shall  a  heathen  emperor  do  thus  to  a  rebel  that  was  in  arms 
against  him,  and  will  not  God  do  as  much  for  poor  rebellious  sinners  ? 
Surely  he  will.  What  though  thou  hast  been  in  arms  against  God,  and 
mustered  up  all  the  strength  and  force  thou  couldst,  even  all  the  mem- 
bers of  thy  body,  and  faculties  of  thy  soul,  against  God,  and  Christ, 
and  holiness,  yet  know  that  the  King  of  Israel  is  a  merciful  king ;  he 
is  a  God  of  pardons ;  he  delights  to  make  his  grace  glorious,  and  there- 

'  Read  also  Prov.  i.  20-29,  chap.  viii.  1-8,  and  chap.  ix.  1-7  ;  Isa.  xliii.  22-25  ;  Jer- 
li.  6.     None  so  faithful  as  Christ,  Heb.  iii.  5,  6. 

2  Rev.  iii.  20,  2  Cor.  vi.  16,  '  I  will  dwell  in  them.'  The  words  are  very  significant  in 
the  original :  UoiKncru  Iv  eturois,  I  will  indwell  in  them.  There  are  two  ins  in  the  original, 
as  if  God  could  never  have  enough  communion  with  them. 

5  Bodin  relates  this  story.     [As  before.     See  Index,  sub  nomine. — G.] 


1 24<  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

fore  is  very  willing  to  shew  mercy  to  the  greatest  rebels,  to  the  worst 
of  sinners.  Witness  Manasseh,  Mary  Magdalene,  the  thief,  Paul,  and 
others.^  The  greatness  of  man's  sins  do  but  set  off  the  riches  of  free 
grace.  Sins  are  debts,  and  God  can  as  easily  blot  out  a  debt  of  many 
thousands  as  he  can  a  lesser  debt ;  therefore  let  not  the  greatest  rebel 
despair  but  believe,  and  he  shall  find  that  '  where  sin  hath  abounded, 
there  grace  shall  superabound/  &c. 

And  thus  much  for  this  observation.  We  shall  now  proceed  to  the 
next  words,  viz., 

*  That  I  should  preach  among  the  Gentiles  the  unsearchable  riches 
of  Christ: — Eph.  iii.  8. 

A  little  to  open  the  words. 

'  That  I  should  preach' 

That  is,  declare  good  news,  or  the  glad  tidings  of  salvation  that  is 
brought  by  Jesus  Christ  to  sinners.  The  Greek  word  EuayysX/ot,  in  the 
New  Testament,  answ^ers  to  the  Hebrew  word  Bessorah  in  the  Old 
Testament,  both  signifying  good  news,  glad  tidings,  or  a  joyful  message.^ 

'  That  I  should  preach  among  the  Gentiles! 

The  word  'i&vi6iv^  that  is  here  rendered  Gentiles,  is  sometimes  used 
generally  for  all  men,  or  all  nations.  So  it  is  used  in  Mat.  xxv.  32,  and 
xxviii.  19.  Sometimes  this  Greek  word  is  used  more  especially  for  the 
people  of  the  Jews ;  so  in  John  xi.  48,  50-52,  and  Acts  x.  22 ;  and 
sometimes  it  is  used  for  the  Gentiles,  distinguished  from  the  Jews  ;  so 
in  Mat.  vi.  32. 

By  the  Gentiles  here  you  are  to  understand  those  poor  heathens  that 
were  without  God  in  the  world,  that  never  had  heard  of  Christ,  nor  those 
unsearchable  riches  that  be  in  him ;  as  you  may  clearly  see  by  compar- 
ing this  text  with  that.  Gal.  i.  15,  16,  'But  when  it  pleased  God,  who 
separated  me  from  my  mother's  womb,  and  called  me  by  his  grace,  to 
reveal  his  Son  in  me,  that  I  might  preach  among  the  heathen,'  saith 
he,  '  immediately  I  consulted  not  with  flesh  and  blood.' 

1.  The  first  observation  that  I  shall  speak  to,  from  these  words  thus 
opened,  is  this  : 

That  the  gifts  and  graces  that  God  bestows  upon  his  people 
should  be  improved,  employed,  and  exercised  by  his  people. 

The  Greek  word  %af'e,  that  is  here  rendered  grace,  we  shewed  you, 
hath  a  three-fold  signification  in  the  Scripture.  Sometimes  it  denotes 
the  favour  of  God,  sometimes  the  common  gifts  of  the  Spirit,  and  some- 
times the  saving  graces  of  the  Spirit.  Now,  says  Paul,  that  singular 
favour  that  God  hath  conferred  upon  me,  and  all  those  common  gifts  and 
special  graces  with  which  he  has  enriched  me,  they  are  all  to  be  em- 
ployed and  exercised.  *  Unto  me  is  this  grace  given,  that  I  should 
preach  among  the  Gentiles  the  unsearchable  riches  of  Christ. 

So  that  there  is  nothing  more  clear  than  this,  viz. :  That  the  gifts 
and  graces  that  God  bestows  upon  his  people,  should  be  employed,  im- 
proved, and  exercised  by  his  people. 

'  To  me  is  this  grace  given.'     Not  that  I  should  be  idle,  but  active  ; 

^  Rom.  V.  10 ;  Col.  i.  21  ;  Rom.  vi.  13,  16,  19,  20. 

2    EvuyyiXitrxa'^eci,  from  'E.va.'yyiXlZ,oii. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  KICHES  OF  CHRIST.  •  125 

not  that  I  should  be  negligent,  but  diligent ;  not  that  I  should  hide 
my  talents,  but  improve  them. 

I  shall  touch  upon  a  few  scriptures  that  speak  out  this  truth,  and  then 
open  it  to  you.  2  Tim.  i.  6,  *  Wherefore  I  put  thee  in  remembrance, 
that  thou  stir  up  the  gift  of  God  that  is  in  thee.'  As  the  fire  is  in- 
creased and  preserved  by  blowing,  so  are  our  graces.  Some  think  that 
it  is  a  metaphor  taken  from  a  spark  kept  in  ashes,  which,  by  gentle 
blowing,  is  stirred  up,  till  it  take  a  flame.  Others  say,  it  is  an  allusion 
to  the  fire  in  the  temple,  which  was  always  to  be  kept  burning.^  We 
get  nothing  by  dead  and  useless  habits.  Talents  hid  in  a  napkin 
gather  rust.  The  noblest  faculties  are  imbased,  when  not  improved, 
when  not  exercised.  Philip,  ii.  12,  *  Work  out  your  own  salvation  with 
fear  and  trembling.'  The  Greek  is,  xaTsiydlsah,  '  Work  till  you  get 
the  work  through.'  The  reason  why  many  men's  hearts  tremble,  and 
are  so  full  of  fears  and  doubts,  is  because  their  salvation  is  not 
wrought  out ;  they  do  not  make  thorough  work  in  their  souls,  they  put 
not  that  question  home,  Whether  they  have  grace  or  no  ?  an  interest 
in  Christ  or  no  ?  They  do  not  rise  with  all  their  strength  against  sin, 
nor  with  all  their  power  to  serve  the  Lord ;  and  therefore  fears  and 
doubts  do  compass  them  round  about.  So  in  1  Cor.  xv.  58,  'Be  sted- 
fast  and  unmoveable,  always  abounding  in  the  work  of  the  Lord,  foras- 
much as  you  know  that  your  labour  is  not  in  vain  in  the  liOrd.' 

'  Be  stedfast.'  It  is  a  metaphor  taken  from  a  foundation,  on  which  a 
thing  stands  firmly ;  or  a  seat  or  chair,  wherein  one  sits  fast. 

'  Unmoveable'  signifies  one  that  will  not  easily  move  his  place  or 
opinion. 

'  Abounding,'  or  excelling  '  in  the  work  of  the  Lord.' 

'  Knowing  that  your  labour  is  not  in  vain.'  The  Greek  is  *  labours 
unto  weariness.'  The  apostle  would  have  them  labour  unto  weariness ; 
'  For,'  saith  he,  '  it  is  not  in  vain.'  It  will  turn  to  a  good  account ;  it 
will  yield  you  much  of  heaven  here,  and  make  you  high  in  heaven 
hereafter.^ 

There  are  only  two  things  that  I  shall  endeavour  to  do,  for  the  open- 
ing of  the  point. 

I.  To  shew  you  why  persons  must  improve,  employ,  and  exercise 
the  graces  and  gifts  that  God  hath  bestowed  upon  them.     And  then, 

II.  The  end  to  which  they  are  to  exercise  those  graces  and  gifts. 

I.  For  the  first,  There  are  these  twelve  reasons  why  gracious  souls 
should  exercise  and  improve  their  gifts  and  graces.  Friends,  this  point 
is  a  point  of  as  singular  use  and  of  as  great  concernment  to  you,  as 
any  that  I  know  the  Scripture  speaks  of,  and  therefore  I  desire  you  to 
lend  your  most  serious  and  solemn  attentions. 

[1.]  First,  They  must  exercise  and  improve  their  graces, 

Because  the  exercise  and  improvement  of  their  graces  is  the  ready 
ivay  to  be  rich  in  grace. 

As  sin  is  increased  in  the  soul  by  the  frequent  actings  of  it,  so  grace 
is  nourished  and  strengthened  in  the  soul  by  its  frequent  actings.  The 
exercise  of  grace  is  always  attended  with  the  increase  of  grace.     Prov. 

^  Calvin  and  others. 

'^  Grace  is  bettered  and  made  more  perfect  by  acting.  Neglect  of  our  graces  is  the 
ground  of  their  decrease  and  decay.     Wells  are  the  sweeter  for  drawing. 


126  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EpH.  III.  8. 

X.  4,  *  The  diligent  hand  maketh  rich  ;'  or,  the  nimble  hand  ;  the  hand 
that  is  active  and  agile,  that  will  see  nothing  lost  for  looking  after, 
that  hand  maketh  rich.  Ruth  ii.,  how  did  Boaz  follow  the  business 
himself!  his  eyes  were  in  every  corner,  on  the  servants  and  on  the 
reapers,  yea,  on  the  gleaners  too.^ 

It  is  recorded  of  Severus,  that  his  care  was  not  to  look  what  men  said 
of  him,  or  how  they  censured  him,  but  to  look  what  was  to  be  done  by 
him.  He  will  rise  in  judgment  against  those  professors  that  look  more 
what  this  man  and  the  other  man  saith  of  them,  than  what  is  to  be 
done  by  them.  The  heart  of  a  Christian  is  to  be  taken  up  with  what 
is  to  be  done  by  him,  and  not  with  what  this  man  thinks,  or  the  other 
judges  of  him. 

Pacunius  hath  an  elegant  saying;  'I  hate,*  saith  he,  *the  men  that 
are  idle  in  deed,  and  philosophical  in  word.'  God  loves,  saith  Luther, 
curristas,  not  quceristas,  the  runner,  not  the  questioner.^  Grace  grows 
by  exercise  and  decays  by  disuse.  Though  both  arms  grow,  yet  that 
which  a  man  most  useth  is  the  stronger  and  the  bigger ;  so  it  is  both 
in  gifts  and  graces.  In  birds,  their  wings  which  have  been  used 
most  are  sweetest ;  the  application  is  easy.  Such  men  as  are  contented 
with  so  much  grace  as  will  bring  them  to  glory,  with  so  much  grace  as 
will  keep  hell  and  their  souls  asunder,  will  never  be  rich  in  grace,  nor 
high  in  comfort  or  assurance.  Such  souls  usually  go  to  heaven  in  a 
storm.  Oh  how  weather-beaten  are  they  before  they  can  reach  the 
heavenly  harbour ! 

[3,]  Secondly,  They  must  exercise  their  gifts  and  graces,  because  it 
is  the  main  end  of  God's  giving  gifts  and  graces  to  them. 

Grace  is  given  to  trade  with ;  it  is  given  to  lay  out,  not  to  lay  up.^ 
Grace  is  a  candle  that  must  not  be  put  under  a  bushel,  but  set  upon  a 
candlestick.  Grace  is  a  golden  treasure  that  must  be  improved,  not 
hoarded  up,  as  men  do  their  gold.  Grace  is  a  talent,  and  it  is  given 
for  this  very  end,  that  it  should  be  employed  and  improved  for  the 
honour  and  advantage  of  him  that  gave  it.  The  slothful  servant,  in 
God's  account,  is  an  evil  servant,  and  accordingly  God  has  denoted  him, 
and  doomed  him  for  his  ill  husbandry,  to  destruction,  Mat.  xxv.  24- 
31. 

*  What  a  shame  is  it,'  saith  one  [Jerome],  '  that  faith  should  not  be 
able  to  do  that  which  infidelity  hath  done  !  What  I  not  better  fruit  in 
the  vineyard,  in  the  garden  of  God,  than  in  the  wilderness  ?  What ! 
not  better  fruit  grow  upon  the  tree  of  life,  than  upon  the  root  of  nature? 
&c. 

[3.]  And  then  thirdly,  Because  grace,  exercised  and  improved,  will 
do  that  for  us  that  all  the  means  in  the  world  can  never  do  for  us.^ 

I  shall  evidence  this  truth  in  some  remarkable  instances. 

^  Our  graces  are  like  Gideon's  army,  but  a  handful  in  comparison  ;  but  our  sins  are 
like  the  Midianites,  innumerable  as  grasshoppers. 

2  One  day  God  will  require  of  men,  Non  quid  legerint,  sed  quid  egerint,  nee  quid  dixerint, 
sed  quomodo  vixerint. 

3  The  reason,  say  some,  why  Christ  cursed  the  fig  tree,  though  the  time  of  bearing 
fruit  was  not  come,  was  because  it  made  a  glorious  show  with  leaves,  and  promised  much, 
biit  brought  forth  nothing. 

*  No  Israelite  that  was  bit  or  stung  with  the  fiery  serpent  could  be  healed  but  by  look- 
iiig  up  to  the  brazen  serpent.  Those  spots  a  Christian  finds  in  his  own  heart  can  only, 
by  a  hand  of  faith,  be  washed  out  in  tho  blood  of  the  Lamb. 


EpH.  hi.  8.J  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  1 27 

Suppose  the  guilt  of  sin  to  be  upon  a  man's  soul,  even  as  a  heavy 
mountain,  there  is  nothing  but  the  exercise  of  grace  now  that  can  re- 
move tliis  guilt.  The  man  prays,  and  yet  guilt  sticks  upon  him  ;  he 
hears,  and  yet  guilt  as  a  mountain  lies  heavy  upon  him ;  he  mourns, 
he  sighs,  he  groans,  and  yet  guilt  sticks  upon  him  ;  he  runs  from  ordi- 
nance to  ordinance,  and  from  ordinary  service  to  extraordinary,  and  yet 
guilt  follows  him ;  he  runs  from  man  to  man,  Sir,  was  ever  any  man's 
case  like  mine  ?  I  have  prayed  thus  long,  I  have  heard  thus  long,  I 
have  mourned  thus  long,  &c.,  and  yet  guilt  lies  as  a  mountain  upon 
my  soul  I  There  is  nothing  now  below  the  exercise  of  grace  that  will 
remove  this.  It  is  only  faith  in  the  promises  of  remission  that  will 
remove  the  guilt  of  sin  that  lies  so  heavy  upon  the  soul.  It  is  only 
faith's  application  of  the  righteousness  of  Christ  that  can  take  off  this 
burden  that  sinks  the  soul,  even  as  low  as  hell.  Faith  must  make  a 
plaster  of  the  blood  of  Christ,  and  apply  it  to  the  soul,  or  the  soul  will 
die  under  its  guilt.  There  is  nothing  below  this  can  do  it.  Faith's 
application  of  the  blood  of  Christ  takes  off  the  guilt,  and  turns  the 
storm  to  a  calm :  Kom.  v.  1,  '  Being  justified  by  faith,  we  have  peace 
with  God,  through  oar  Lord  Jesus  Christ.' 

Again,  suppose  that  the  power  and  prevalency  of  sin  hinders  the  soul's 
sweet  communion  with  God,  so  that  the  soul  cannot  sport  itself,  and 
joy  and  delight  itself  in  God,  as  in  the  days  of  old  ;  it  cannot  see  God 
smiling,  stroking,  and  speaking  kindly,  as  in  former  days.  Now,  there 
is  nothing  in  all  the  world  that  can  ease  the  soul  of  this  burden  of  sin 
below  the  exercise  of  grace.  Oh,  saith  such  a  poor  soul,  I  pray,  sir,  and 
yet  I  sin  ;  I  resolve  against  sin,  and  yet  I  sin  ;  I  combat  against  sin, 
and  yet  I  am  carried  captive  by  sin  ;  I  have  left  no  outward  means  un- 
attempted,  and  yet  after  all,  my  sins  are  too  hard  for  me ;  after  all  my 
sweating,  striving,  and  weeping,  I  am  carried  down  the  stream.  There 
is  nothing  now  but  the  actings  of  faith  upon  a  crucified  Christ  that  will 
take  off  this  burden  from  the  soul  of  man.^  Now,  you  must  make  use 
of  your  graces  to  draw  virtue  from  Christ ;  now  faith  must  touch  the 
hem  of  Christ's  garment,  or  thou  wilt  never  be  healed.  It  is  just  with 
a  soul  in  this  case  as  it  was  with  the  poor  widow,  Luke  viii.  43-49,  that 
had  the  bloody  issue  ;  she  leaves  no  means  unattempted  whereby  she 
might  be  cured  ;  she  runs  from  one  physician  to  another,  till  she  had 
spent  all  she  was  worth,  till  she  had  brought  a  noble  to  ninepence,  and 
now  says  she,  '  If  I  could  but  touch  the  hem  of  his  garment,  I  should 
be  whole.'  Hereupon  she  crowds  through  the  crowd  to  come  to  Christ, 
and  being  got  behind  him,  she  touches  the  hem  of  his  garment,  '  and 
immediately  she  was  made  whole.'  The  cure  being  thus  wrought, 
Christ  uncrowns  himself  to  crown  her  faith  :  '  And  he  said  unto  her. 
Daughter,  be  of  good  comfort,  thy  faith  hath  made  thee  whole ;  go  in 
peace.'  He  doth  not  say.  Woman,  thy  trembling  hath  made  thee  whole ; 
or.  Woman,  thy  sweating  and  struggling  in  a  crowd  to  come  to  me,  hath 
made  thee  whole ;  or.  Woman,  thy  falling  down  and  abasing  thyself, 
though  she  did  all  this ;  but,  '  Woman,  thy  faith  hath  made  thee  whole.' 
Ah,  Christians !  it  is  not  your  trembling,  or  your  falling  down,  or  your 
sweating  in  this  and  that  service,  that  will  stop  the  bloody  issue  of  your 

^  Much  less,  then,  can  the  papists'  pnrgratories,  wntchings,  whippings,  &c.,  or  Saiut 
Francis  his  kissing  or  licking  of  lepers'  sores,  cleanse  the  fretting  leprosy  of  sin,  &c. 


128  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

sins,  but  believing  in  Christ.^  It  is  sad  to  consider  how  few  professors 
in  these  days  have  attained  the  right  way  of  mortifying  of  sin.  They 
usually  go  out  against  their  sins  in  the  strength  of  their  own  purposes, 
prayers,  and  resolutions,  &c.,  and  scarce  look  so  high  as  a  crucified 
Christ ;  they  mind  not  the  exercise  of  their  faith  upon  Christ ;  and 
therefore  it  is  a  righteous  thing  with  Christ  that  after  all  they  should 
be  carried  captive  by  their  sins.  Nothing  eats  out  sin  like  the  actings 
of  grace  ;  nothing  weakens  and  wastes  the  strength  of  sin  like  the  exer- 
cise of  grace.  Oh  1  did  men  believe  more  in  Christ,  sin  would  die 
more  ;  did  they  believe  the  threatenings  more,  sin  would  die  more  ;  did 
they  believe  the  promises  more,  sin  would  die  more  ;  did  they  believe 
reigning  with  Christ  more,  sin  would  die  more  :  '  He  that  hath  this 
hope  purifies  himself,  even  as  Christ  is  pure,'  1  John  iii.  3. 

Again,  Suppose  that  the  soul  be  followed  with  black,  dismal,  fiery 
temptations,  there  is  nothing  now  in  all  the  world  that  can  divinely 
strengthen  and  fence  the  soul  against  these  temptations  but  the  exercise 
of  grace,  the  improvement  of  grace.  It  is  true  you  are  to  hear,  read, 
pray,  meditate,  &c. ;  but  all  these  without  the  exercise  of  grace  in  them, 
will  never  make  you  victorious  over  Satan's  temptations.  Nothing  puts 
Satan  to  it  like  the  exercise  of  grace.^ 

It  is  said  of  Satan,  that  he  should  say  to  a  holy  man  who  was  much 
in  the  exercise  of  grace,  Tu  me  seinper  vincis,  thou  dost  always  over- 
come me  :  Eph.  vi.  16.  '  Above  all,  take  the  shield  of  faith,  whereby  ye 
may  be  able  to  quench  the  fiery  darts  of  the  devil.'  Whatsoever  piece 
of  armour  you  neglect,  be  sure  that  you  neglect  not  the  shield  of  faith. 
The  Greek  word  that  is  here  rendered  a  shield,  ^v^sog  a  ^v^a,  comes  from 
another  word  that  signifies  a  door  or  a  gate,  to  note  that  as  a  door  or  a 
gate  doth  secure  our  bodies,  so  will  the  shield  of  faith  secure  our  souls 
against  the  fiery  darts  of  the  devil :  '  Above  all,  take  the  shield  of  faith, 
whereby  ye  may  be  able  to  quench  all  the  fiery  darts  of  the  devil'  The 
apostle  alludes  to  the  custom  of  the  Scythians,  who  used  to  dip  the 
heads  of  their  arrows  or  darts  in  the  gall  of  asps  and  vipers,  the  venomous 
heat  of  w^hich,  like  a  fire  in  their  flesh,  killed  the  wounded  with  tor- 
ments, the  likest  hell  of  any  other.  But  the  soldiers  then  had  generally 
shields  of  raw  neats'  leather,  as  several  writers  testify,^  and  when  the 
fiery  darts  lighted  upon  them,  they  were  presently  quenched.  So  these 
fiery  darts  of  Satan,  when  they  light  upon  the  shield  of  faith,  they  are 
presently  quenched  ;  and  there  is  no  other  way  to  do  it.  Till  the  Lord 
draw  out  a  man's  faith  to  act  upon  the  promises  and  upon  Christ,  these 
fiery  darts  will  not  be  quenched. 

Again,  Suppose  that  the  world,  the  smiling  world  or  the  frowning 
world,  the  tempting  world  or  the  persecuting  world,  should  lie  as  a  heavy 
stone  or  burden  upon  your  hearts,  as  it  doth  upon  the  hearts  of  thou- 
sands in  these  days — ^witness  their  attempting  anything  to  get  the  favours, 
honours  and  riches  of  this  world  !     Ah  !  how  many  have  turned  their 

1  A  toucTi  of  faith  curetli  the  woman,  as  well  as  a  full  hold.  It  is  the  exercise  of  the 
graces  of  the  Spirit  by  which  we  mortify  the  deeds  of  the  flesh,  Rom.  viii.  13.  It  is  not 
our  strong  resolutions  or  purposes  that  will  be  able  to  overmaster  these  enemies.  A  foul 
sore  will  run  till  it  be  indeed  healed,  though  we  say  it  shall  not. 

'^  Luther  said,  I  am  without  set  upon  by  all  the  world,  and  within  by  the  devil  and  all 
his  angels  ;  and  yet,  by  the  exercise  of  grace,  he  became  victorious  over  them  all,  &c. 

»  Polybius  and  Vigetius,  &c. 


EpU.  hi  8.]  KICHES  OF  CHRIST.  129 

backs  upon  God,  and  Christ,  and  truth,  &c.,  to  gain  the  world  !  How 
will  you  get  off  this  burden  ?  No  way  in  the  world  like  to  the  exercise 
and  actings  of  grace.  Many  men  hear  much,  and  yet  remain  worldly  ; 
and  pray  like  angels,  and  yet  live  as  if  there  were  no  heaven  nor  hell. 
They  will  talk  much  of  heaven,  and  yet  those  that  are  spiritual  and 
wise  do  smell  their  breath  to  stink  strong  of  earth ;  and  all  the  arts, 
and  parts,  and  gifts  in  the  world  can  never  cure  them  of  this  soul-killing 
disease ;  but  the  exercise  of  grace,  till  faith  break  forth  in  its  glorious 
actings.  A  man  may  hear  and  pray  many  years,  and  yet  be  as  carnal, 
base,  and  worldly  as  ever.  There  is  no  way  under  heaven  to  remove 
this  stone,  this  burden,  but  the  exercise  of  faith  and  love,  &c. :  Cant, 
viii.  6,  7  ;  1  John  iv.  5,  '  For  whatsoever  is  born  of  God  overcometh  the 
world  ;  and  this  is  the  victory  that  overcometh  the  world,  even  our 
faith.  Who  is  he  that  overcometh  the  world,  but  he  that  believeth  that 
Jesus  is  the  Son  of  God?'^ 

Not  that  the  habit  of  faith  overcometh  the  world,  but  faith  in  the 
exercise  of  it  conquers  the  world,  and  that  it  does  these  three  ways. 

(1.)  First,  Faith  in  the  exercise  of  it  presents  the  world  to  the  soul 
under  all  those  notions  that  the  Scripture  holds  forth  the  world  unto 
us  by. 

The  Scripture  holds  forth  the  world  as  an  impotent  thing,  as  a  mixed 
thing,  as  a  mutable  thing,  as  a  momentary  thing.'  Now  faith  comes 
and  sets  this  home  with  power  upon  the  soul,  and  this  takes  the  soul 
off  from  the  world. 

(2.)  Secondly,  Faith  doth  it  hu  causing  the  soul  to  converse  with  more 
glorious,  soul-satisfying,  soul-delighting,  and  soul-contenting  objects. 

2  Cor.  iv.  16-18,  '  Though  our  outward  man  perish,  yet  our  inward 
man  is  renewed  day  by  day.'  How  comes  this  to  pass  ?  '  While  we  look 
not  at  the  things  which  are  seen,  but  at  the  things  that  are  not  seen  ; 
for  the  things  that  are  seen  are  temporal,  but  the  things  that  are  not 
seen  are  eternal/^  Now  when  faith  is  busied  and  exercised  about  soul- 
ennobling,  soul-greatening,  soul-raising,  and  soul-cheering  objects,  a 
Christian  tramples  the  world  under  his  feet ;  and  now  heavy  afflictions 
are  light,  and  long  afflictions  short,  and  bitter  afflictions  sweet,  unto 
him,  &c.     Now,  stand  by  world  !  welcome  Christ !  &c. 

So  in  Heb.  xi.  It  was  the  exercise  of  faith  and  hope  upon  noble  and 
glorious  objects  that  carried  them  above  the  world,  above  the  smiling 
world,  and  above  the  frowning  world,  above  the  tempting  world,  and 
above  the  persecuting  world,  as  you  may  see  by  comparing  several 
verses  of  that  chapter  together :  ver.  9,  10,  '  By  faith  he  sojourned  in 
the  land  of  promise,  as  in  a  strange  country,  dwelling  in  tabernacles  with 
Isaac  and  Jacob,  the  heirs  with  him  of  the  same  promise  :  for  he  looked 
for  a  city  which  hath  foundations,  whose  builder  and  maker  is  God.' 
Ver.  2-fc-26,  '  And  by  faith,  Moses,  when  he  was  come  to  years,  refused 
to  be  called  the  son  of  Pharaoh's  daughter,  choosing  rather  to  suffer 

J  Faith  is  a  better  engineer  than  Bcedalvs,  and  yet  he  made  wings  with  which  he  made 
an  escape  over  the  high  walls  within  which  he  was  imprisoned.  This  world  is  the  soul's 
prison,  yet  faith  is  such  an  engineer  that  it  can  make  wings  for  the  soul  to  fly  out,  &c. 

2  DiviticB  corporales  paupertatis  plence  sunt,  earthly  riches  are  full  of  poveity,  saith 
Austin.     [Corifessions,  b.  i,  xii.  IQ, — G.] 

'  <r»oTovvre.>K  Whiles  we  look  upon  eternal  things  as  a  man  looks  upon  the  mark  that 
he  aims  to  hit. 

VOL.  III.  '  I 


130  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EpH.  III.  8. 

afflictions  with  the  people  of  God,  than  to  enjoy  the  pleasures  of  sin  for 
a  season  :  esteeming  the  reproach  of  Christ  greater  riches  than  the  trea- 
sures of  Egypt,  for  he  had  respect  to  the  recompence  of  reward/  Ver. 
27,  '  By  faith  he  forsook  Egypt,  not  fearing  the  wrath  of  the  king ;  for 
he  endured,  as  seeing  him  who  is  invisible/  And  in  ver.  35,  '  They 
refused  deliverance,  that  they  might  obtain  a  better  resurrection/^ 

So  in  Heb.  x.  34,  'They  took  joyfully  the  spoiling  of  their  goods,' 
(upon  what  account  ?)  *  knowing  in  themselves,  that  they  had  in  heaven 
a  better  and  more  enduring  substance/ 

(3.)  Thirdly  and  lastly.  Faith  doth  it  by  assuring  the  soul  of  enjoy- 
ing of  better  things.  For  my  part  I  must  confess,  so  far  as  I  under- 
stand anything  of  the  things  of  God,  I  cannot  see  how  a  soul  under  the 
power  of  a  well-grounded  assurance  can  be  a  servant  to  his  slave,  I 
mean  the  world.  I  confess  men  may  talk  much  of  heaven,  and  of  Christ, 
and  religion,  &c. ;  but  give  me  a  man  that  doth  really  and  clearly  live 
under  the  power  of  divine  assurance,  and  I  cannot  see  how  such  a  one 
can  be  carried  out  in  an  inordinate  love  to  these  poor  transitory  things. 
I  know  not  one  instance  in  all  the  Scripture  that  can  be  produced  to 
prove  that  ever  any  precious  saint  that  hath  lived  in  the  assurance  of 
divine  love,  and  that  hath  walked  up  and  down  this  world  with  his  par- 
don in  his  bosom,  have  ever  been  charged  with  an  inordinate  love  of  the 
world.'*    That  is  a  sad  word,  1  John  ii.  15. 

[4.]  Now  a.  fourth  reason  of  this  point,  why  persons  are  to  exercise  their 
graces,  is,  because  it  is  the  best  way  to  preserve  their  souls  from  apostasy 
and  backsliding  from  God.  2  Pet.  i.  5  to  11,  'Add  to  your  faith  virtue, 
and  to  virtue  knowledge,  and  to  knowledge  temperance,  and  to  tempe- 
rance patience,  and  to  patience  godliness,  &c. ;  for  if  ye  do  these  things 
ye  shall  never  fall/  '  Add  to  your  faith  virtue.'  The  Greek  word  s'^n^o^riyri- 
ears,  that  is  here  rendered  add,  hath  a  great  emphasis  in  it.  It  is  taken 
from  dancing  round.  Link  them,  saith  the  apostle,  hand  in  hand,  as 
in  dancing,  virgins  take  hands ;  so  we  must  join  hand  to  hand  in  these 
measures  of  graces,  lead  up  the  dance  of  graces,  as  in  the  galliard^  every 
one  takes  his  turn.  So  in  chap.  iii.  17, 18,  *  Ye  therefore,  beloved,  seeing 
ye  know  these  things,  beware  lest  ye  also,  being  led  aside  with  the  eiTor 
of  the  wicked,  fall  from  your  own  stedfastness.'  There  are  many  turn 
aside,  and  shake  hands  with  God,  and  Christ,  and  truth,  and  the  words 
of  righteousness  ;  and  therefore  you  had  need  to  take  heed  that  you 
fall  not  as  others  have  fallen  before  you.* 

But  how  shall  we  be  kept  from  apostatising?  Why,  '  grow  in  grace, 
and  in  the  knowledge  of  our  Lord  and  Saviour  Jesus  Christ.'  It  is  a  growth 
in  grace,  it  is  the  exercise  of  grace,  that  will  make  a  man  stand  when 
others  fall,  yea,  when  cedars  fall,  &c. 

[5.]  Fifthly,  All  other  exercises  without  the  exercise  of  grace  will 
"profit  nothing. 

Or  if  you  will,  take  it  thus : 

All  other  exercises  will  be  loss  to  us,  without  the  exercise  of  grace  ; 
therefore  we  had  need  to  improve  our  graces.     When  the  house  is  on 

'  Every  man  is  as  the  objects  are  about  which  his  soul  is  most  conversant,  &c. 

2  In  my  treatise  called  '  Heaven  on  Earth,*  you  may  find  many  considerations  to 
evince  this,  and  to  that  I  refer  you,  &c.     [Vol.  II.  p.  301,  seq. — G.] 

3  French  dance. — G.  •      *  Pulchrior  in  proelio  occisus  miles  quam  fugd  salvus. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  ETCHES  OF  CHRIST.  131 

fire,  if  a  man  should  only  pray,  and  cry,  &c.,  he  may  be  burnt  for  all 
that ;  therefore  he  must  be  active  and  stirring;  he  must  run  from  place  to 
place,  and  call  out  for  help,  and  must  work  even  in  the  fire,  and  bestir 
himself  as  for  life,  in  the  use  of  all  means,  whereby  the  fire  may  be 
quenched.  So  if  grace  be  not  acted,  it  is  not  all  a  man's  praying  and 
crying,  &c.,  that  will  profit  him  or  better  him.  Grace  must  be  exercised 
or  all  will  be  lost ;  prayers  lost,  tears  lost,  time  lost,  strength  lost,  soul 
lost,  &c.  1  Tim.  iv.  7,  8,  '  But  refuse  profane  and  old  wives'  fables.'^ 
Shift  them  off,  as  the  word  is,  set  them  by,  say  thou  art  not  at  leisure 
to  attend  them,  make  a  fair  excuse,  as  the  word  notes,' tell  them  thou 
hast  business  of  an  eternal  concernment  to  look  after,  and  'exercise 
thyself  rather  unto  godliness;'  or  lay  aside  thy  upper  garments,  as 
runners  and  wrestlers  do,  to  which  the  apostle  alludes,  and  bestir  thyself 
lustily  ;  for  says  he,  verse  8,  *  Bodily  exercise  p'rofits  little,  but  godliness 
is  profitable  unto  all  things,  and  hath  the  promise  of  this  life,  and  of 
that  which  is  to  come.'^  The  Babylonians  are  said  to  make  three  hun- 
dred and  sixty  several  commodities  of  the  palm  tree  ;  but  what  are 
those  hundred  commodities  to  those  thousands  that  attend  holiness, 
that  attend  the  exercise  of  grace?  Nothing  makes  a  man  rich  in 
spirituals,  like  the  frequent  and  constant  actings  of  grace.  In  Heb.  iv. 
2,  'The  word  did  not  profit  them  that  heard  it,  because  it  was  not 
mixed  with  faith.'  He  doth  not  speak  there  of  unbelievers,  but  of  those 
that  had  grace  in  the  habit,  but  not  in  the  exercise  ;  and  therefore 
the  word  did  not  turn  to  their  accounts  ;  they  heard,  and  were  never 
the  better.  And  what  was  the  ground  of  it  1  Why,  it  was  because 
they  did  not  exercise  faith  upon  the  word.  The  words  that  fell  from 
the  preacher's  lips  into  their  ears  were  a  sweet  potion,  but  they  did 
not  work  kindly,  because  there  wanted  the  ingredients  of  faith.  Faith 
is  one  of  those  glorious  ingredients,  that  must  make  every  sermon,  every 
truth,  work  for  their  souls'  advantage.  Nothing  will  work  for  a  be- 
liever's good,  for  his  gain,  if  his  graces  be  asleep. 

[6.]  Sixthly,  Because  it  is  the  end  of  all  the  dignity  and  glory  that 
God  hath  conferred  upon  his  people;  therefore  they  must  exercise 
and  improve  their  grace.  In  1  Pet.  ii.  9,  '  But  ye  are  a  chosen  generation, 
a  royal  priesthood,  an  holy  nation,  a  peculiar  people,  that  ye  may  shew 
forth  the  praises  of  him  who  hath  called  you  out  of  darkness  into  his 
marvellous  light.' 

'  Ye  are  a  chosen  generation.'  That  is,  a  picked  people  ;  the  dearly 
beloved  of  his  soul  ;  such  as  he  first  chose  for  his  love,  and  then  loves 
for  his  choice. 

*  A  royal  priesthood,  a  holy  nation,  a  peculiar  people.'  The  Greek 
is,  *  a  people  of  purchase,'  such  as  comprehendeth,  as  it  were,  all  God's 
gettings,  his  whole  stock,  that  he  makes  any  reckoning  of,  Xai  sig  <jri^i- 

'That  ye  may  shew  forth,'  or,  as  it  is  in  the  Greek,  *  that  ye  may  preach 
forth,'  that  ye  may  publicly  declare  the  virtues  of  him  that  hath  'called 

'  ?ra^a<Tflt/,  make  a  fair  excuse. 

-  yvfjiVKcriix.  -r^os  oxiyov  is  not  to  be  taken  in  a  sense  wherein  little  signifies  nothing  at 
all,  but  as  when  it  is  set  in  comparison  and  opposition  to  some  greater  matter,  as  here  in 
opposition  to  •r^a;  tolvto.,  for  all  things.  Let  the  patient  take  such  or  such  a  potion  that 
in  itself  is  good,  yet,  if  it  want  such  or  such  a  particular  ingredient,  it  works  not ;  it  does 
no  good.    It  is  so  here. 


132  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

you  out  of  darkness  into  his  marvellous  light ;'  that  ye  may  so  hold 
forth  the  virtues  of  him  that  hath  conferred  all  this  dignity  and  glory 
upon  you,  as  to  excite  others,  to  '  glorify  your  Father  which  is  in  heaven.' 
You  know  the  picture  of  a  dear  friend  is  not  to  be  thrust  in  a  corner, 
but  in  some  conspicuous  place  of  the  house.  Why,  our  graces  are  tTie 
very  image  of  Christ,  they  are  his  picture  ;  and  therefore  to  be  held 
forth  to  open  view.  These  candles  must  not  be  put  under  a  bushel,  but 
set  up  in  a  candlestick.  Jewels  are  to  wear,  not  to  hide ;  so  are  our 
graces.^ 

It  was  a  capital  crime  in  Tiberius's  days,  to  carry  the  image  of  Augustus 
upon  a  ring  or  coin,  into  any  sordid  place ;  and  shall  not  Christians  be 
more  mindful  and  careful,  that  their  graces,  which  are  Christ's  image, 
be  no  ways  obscured,  but  that  they  be  kept  always  sparkling  and  shining? 
Christ's  glory  and  thy  comfort,  0  Christian  1  lies  much  in  the  sparkling 
of  thy  graces.  Pearls  are  not  to  be  thrust  in  mud  walls,  or  hung  in 
s wines'  snouts,  but  to  be  hung  on  the  breasts. 

[7.]  Seventhly,  Graxiious  souls  onust  exercise  their  grace,  because  the 
more  grace  is  exercised  and  improved,  with  the  more  ease  and  delight 
tvill  all  religious  services  he  'performed,  Ps.  xl.  7,  8;  cxix.  97-112. 
When  grace  is  improved  and  exercised,  gracious  services  are  easily  per- 
formed. As  the  more  natural  strength  is  exercised  and  improved,  with 
the  more  ease  and  pleasure  are  all  bodily  services  performed  ;  so  the 
more  grace  is  acted  and  improved,  with  the  more  ease  and  delight  all 
Christian  services  are  performed.  Such  souls  find  wages  in  their  very 
work,  they  find  not  only /or  keeping,  but  also  '  in  keeping  of  his  com- 
mands there  is  great  reward.'  '  All  the  ways  of  the  Lord  are  ways  of 
pleasantness  to  them,'  and  they  find  '  that  all  his  paths  drop  marrow 
and  fatness,'  Eom.  vi.  22  ;  Ps.  xix.  11  ;  Prov.  iii.  17  ;  Ps.  Ixv.  11.  Ah, 
Christians  !  as  ever  you  would  have  the  services  of  God  to  be  easy  and 
delightful  to  your  souls,  look  to  the  exercise  and  improvement  of  your 
graces,  and  then  your  work  will  be  a  joy. 

[8.]  Eighthly,  You  must  exercise  and  improve  your  gifts  and  graces, 
because  the  more  grace  is  improved,  the  more  God  will  be  honoured. 
Kom.  iv.  19-21,  '  And  being  not  weak  in  faith,  he  considered  not  his 
own  body,  now  dead,  when  he  was  about  an  hundred  years  old  ;  neither 
the  deadness  of  Sarah's  womb :  he  staggered  not  at  the  promise  of  God 
through  unbelief,  but  was  strong  in  faith,  giving  glory  to  God  ;  and 
being  fully  persuaded,  that  what  he  had  promised,  he  was  able  to 
perform.'^ 

'  He  gave  glory  to  God.'  But  how  did  he  give  glory  to  God  ?  Was 
it  a  dead  habit  of  faith  that  set  the  crown  of  honour  upon  the  head  of 
Gud  ?  No  !  It  was  the  lively  actings  of  his  faith  upon  the  promise  and 
the  promiser,  that  gave  glory  to  God.  All  the  honour  and  glory  that 
God  hath  from  believers  in  this  life,  is  from  the  actings  of  their  grace. 
It  was  Abraham's  acting  of  faith  that  was  his  high  honouring  of  God. 
Christians  !  I  would  entreat  this  favour  of  you,  that  you  would  be  often 
in  the  meditation  of  this  truth,  viz.  :  That  all  the  honour  that  God  hath 

^  God  himself  is  wronged  by  the  injury  that  is  done  to  his  image.  The  contempt  is 
d(  ne  to  the  king  himself  that  is  done  to  his  image  or  coin,  as  Suetonius  writes. 

2  Abraham's  faith  made  him  rejoice  and  obey,  Heb.  xi.  Faith  is  as  the  spring  in  the 
watch,  that  moves  the  wheels.     Not  a  grace  stirs  till  faith  sets  it  on  work,  Rom.  iv.  3,  &c. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  133 

from  believers  in  this  life,  is  from  the  actings  and  exercise  of  their 
graces.  When  thou  goest  to  prayer,  then  think  thus  with  thyself :  Is 
it  so,  that  all  the  honour  that  God  shall  have  from  my  soul  in  prayer, 
will  be  from  the  actings  of  grace  in  prayer  ?  Oh  then,  what  cause  have 
I  to  stir  up  myself  to  lay  hold  on  God,  and  to  blow  up  all  those  sparks 
of  grace  that  be  in  me  !^  As  a  body  without  a  soul,  much  wood  without 
lire,  a  bullet  in  a  gun  without  powder,  so  are  words  in  prayer  without 
the  Spirit,  without  the  exercise  of  the  graces  of  the  Spirit.  Jonah 
acted  his  faith  when  he  was  in  the  belly  of  hell ;  and  Daniel  acted  faith 
when  he  was  in  the  lions'  den  ;  and  the  thief  acted  faith  when  be  was 
on  the  cross;  and  Jeremiah  acted  faith  when  he  was  in  the  dungeon  ; 
and  Job  acted  faith  when  he  was  on  the  dunghill ;  and  David  acted 
faith  when  he  was  in  his  greatest  distress ;  and  so  did  Moses  in  Exod. 
xiv.  And  you  know  the  issue  of  all  was,  much  glory  to  God,  and  much 
good  to  them.  His  heart  will  never  be  long  a  stranger  to  joy  and  peace, 
who  is  much  in  the  exercise  and  actings  of  grace.^ 

[9.]  Ninthly,  Because  the  more  grace  is  improved,  the  more  afflictions 
and  tribulations  will  be  lessened  and  sweetened  to  us  :  2  Cor.  iv.  16,  17, 
*  Though  our  outward  man  decreases,  yet  our  inward  man  is  renewed  day 
by  day,'  or  day  and  day.     [55/<^%qc  xat  rj/xs^cf.] 

When  Peter  Martyr  was  dying,  he  said,  '  My  body  is  weak,  but  my 
mind  is  well,  well  for  the  present,  and  will  be  better  for  ever  hereafter,' 
This  is  the  godly  man's  motto,  *  For  afflictions  there  is  glory,  for  light 
afflictions  a  weight  of  glory,  for  momentary  afflictions  eternal  glory.' 
So  in  Heb.  x.  and  xi.  O  friends !  if  your  graces  were  more  exercised 
and  improved,  afflictions  would  be  more  sweet.^  This  would  turn  the 
cross  into  a  crown  ;  this  would  turn  bitter  into  sweet,  and  long  winter 
■  nights  into  summer  days.  It  would  make  every  condition  to  be  a  para- 
dise to  you,  &c. 

[10.]  Tenthly,  If  grace  he  not  exercised  and  improved,  the  soul  may 
he  easily  surprised,  conquered,  and  vanquished  by  a  tempting  devil 
and  an  enticing  world.  When  the  sword  is  in  the  scabbard,  the  tra- 
veller is  easily  surprised,  and  when  the  guard  is  asleep,  the  city  is  quickly 
conquered.  The  strongest  creature,  the  lion,  and  the  wisest  creature, 
the  serpent,  if  they  be  dormant,  are  as  easily  surprised  as  the  weakest 
worms.  So  the  strongest  and  wisest  saints,  if  their  graces  be  asleep,  if 
they  be  only  in  the  habit,  and  not  in  the  exercise,  they  may  be  as  easily 
surprised  and  vanquished  as  the  weakest  Christians  in  all  the  world,  as 
you  may  see  in  David,  Solomon,  Samson,  Peter.  Every  enemy  insults 
over  him  that  hath  lost  the  use  of  his  weapons,  &c.^ 

[11.]  Eleventhly,  We  must  improve  our  graces,  because  decays  in 
grace  are  very  great  losses  to  us.  By  decaying  in  grace,  we  come  to 
lose  our  strength,  our  best  strength,  our  spiritual  strength ;  our  strength 

^  It  is  reported  in  the  life  of  Luther,  that  when  he  prayed,  it  was  Tanta  reverentia  ut 
si  Deo^  et  tanta  fiducia  ut  si  amico,  &c. 

2  So  did  the  publican  ;  he  prayed  much,  though  he  spake  little,  oratio  hrevis  penetrat 
caelum;  the  hottest  springs  send  forth  their  waters  by  ebullitions.  Augustine  cries  out 
against  them  that  did  not  profit  by  afflictions,  Perdidistis  utilitatem  calamitatis— August. 
de  Civit.  lib.  ii.  c.  xxxiii, 

»  Saints  should  be  like  the  seraphim,  beset  all  over  with  eyes  and  lights,  as  Bassariau 
said.  The  fearful  hare,  they  say,  sleepeth  with  her  eyes  open.  Oh,  how  watchful,  then, 
should  a  Christian  be  ! 


134  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

to  do  for  God ;  our  strength  to  wait  on  God,  and  walk  with  God ;  our 
strength  to  bear  for  God ;  our  strength  to  suffer  for  God.^  By  decaying 
in  grace,  we  come  to  lose  that  'joy  that  is  unspeakable  and  full  of 
glory/  and  that  comfort  and  '  peace  that  passes  understanding,'  and  to 
lose  the  sense  of  that  '  favour  that  is  better  than  life.'  Now  our  faith 
will  be  turned  into  fear,  our  dancing  into  mourning,  our  rejoicing  into 
sighing;  and  when,  O  Christian!  thou  beginnest  to  fall,  and  to  decay, 
who  knows  how  far  thou  may  est  fall,  how  much  thy  graces  may  be  im- 
paired, and  how  long  it  may  be  before  thy  sun  rise  when  once  it  is  set ; 
therefore  you  had  need  to  exercise  and  improve  your  graces. 

[12.]  Twelfthly,  and  lastly.  You  are  to  improve  your  graces,  because 
souls  truly  gracious  have  a  power  to  do  good.  I  do  not  say  that  a  man 
in  his  natural  estate — though  Arminians  do — hath  power  in  himself 
to  do  supernatural  acts,  as  to  believe  in  God,  to  love  God,  and  the  like, 
&c.,  for  I  think  a  toad  may  as  well  spit  cordials  as  a  natural  man  do 
supernatural  actions,  1  Cor.  ii.  14;  Jer.  xiii.  23;  James  i.  17;  Eph.  ii. 
1-3.  No  ;  I  do  not  say  that  all  the  grace  we  have  is  not  from  God,  nor 
that  man  in  his  natural  estate  is  not  dead  God-ward,  and  Christ- ward, 
and  holiness- ward,  and  heaven-ward.  But  this  I  say,  that  souls  truly 
gracious  have  a  power  to  do  good.  It  is  sad  to  think  how  many  pro- 
fessors do  excuse  their  negligence  by  pretending  an  inability  to  do  good, 
or  by  sitting  down  discouraged,  as  having  in  their  hands  no  power  at 
all.  What  can  we  do,  say  they,  if  the  Lord  do  not  breathe  upon  us,  as  at 
first  conversion  ?  We  can  do  nothing.^  I  think  in  my  very  conscience, 
that  this  is  one  reason  of  much  of  that  slightness,  neglect,  and  omission 
of  duties,  that  is  among  professors  in  these  days,  so  that  God  may  com- 
plain, as  he  doth,  Isa.  Txiv.  7,  '  There  is  no  man  that  stirreth  up  himself 
to  take  hold  of  me,  they  are  as  men  asleep,'  that  sit  still  and  do  nothing. 
But  certainly  they  that  are  truly  united  to  Christ,  are  not  acted  as  dead 
stocks,  as  if  every  time  and  moment  of  their  acting  God-wards  and 
holiness-ward  they  received  new  life  from  the  Spirit  of  Christ,  as  at  first 
conversion  they  did.  And  I  am  confident,  for  want  of  the  knowledge 
and  due  consideration  of  this  truth,  many  professors  take  such  liberty " 
to  themselves,  as  to  live  in  the  neglect  of  many  precious  duties  of  godli- 
ness, for  which,  first  or  last,  they  will  pay  dear.  But  remembering  that 
it  is  not  a  flood  of  words,  but  weighty  arguments,  that  convince  and  per- 
suade the  souls  and  consciences  of  men,  I  shall  give  you  four  reasons  to 
demonstrate,  that  believers  have  a  power  to  do  good  ;  and  the  first  is  this. 

First,  because  they  have  life  ;  and  all  life  is  a  power  to  act  by? 
Natural  life  is  a  power  to  act  by  ;  spiritual  life  is  a  power  to  act  by  ; 
eternal  life  is  a  power  to  act  by.  The  philosopher  saith,  '  That  a  fly  is 
more  excellent  than  the  heavens,  because  the  fly  hath  life,  which  the 
heavens  have  not,'  &c. 

Secondly,  Else  there  is  no  just  ground  for  Christ  to  charge  the  guilt 

1  Spiritual  losses  are  hardly  recovered.  A  man  may  easily  run  down  the  hill,  but  he 
cannot  so  easily  get  up.  Philosophers  say  that  the  way  from  the  habit  to  privation  is 
easier  than  the  way  from  the  privation  to  the  habit ;  as  a  man  may  soon  put  an  instru- 
ment out  of  tune,  but  not  so  soon  put  it  in  again. 

2  When  Charles  Langius  had  excited  Lipsius  to  the  study  of  true  wisdom,  My  mind 
is  to  it,  said  Lipsius  ;  and  then  he  falls  to  wishing.  What,  said  Langius,  art  thou  pur- 
posing when  thou  shouldst  be  doing  ? — Just.  Lip.  de  Constan.  lib.  ii.  cap.  v. 

3  Omnis  vita  est  propter  delectaiionem. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  135 

of  sins  upon  them ;  as  neglect  of  prayer,  repentance,  mortification  ;  nor 
the  guilt  of  carelessness  and  slothfulness,  &c.,  which  he  doth.  If  they  can 
act  no  farther,  nor  no  longer  than  the  Holy  Ghost  acts  them,  as  at  their 
first  conversion,  notwithstanding  their  union  with  Christ,  and  that 
spiritual  principle  of  life  that  at  first  they  received  from  Christ,^ 
certainly  if  it  be  so,  it  will  not  stand  with  the  unspotted  justice  of  God 
to  charge  the  guilt  of  sins  of  omission  upon  believing  souls,  if  they  have 
no  power  to  act,  but  are  as  stocks  and  stones,  &c.,  as  some  dream. 

A  third  ground  is  this  :  if  there  be  not  some  power  in  believers  to  do 
good,  then  we  should  not  have  as  much  benefit  by  the  second  Adam 
as  we  had  by  the  first.  The  first  Adam,  if  he  had  stood,  would  have 
communicated  a  power  to  all  his  sons  and  daughters  to  have  done  good, 
as  being  corrupted  he  doth  communicate  power  to  sin,  as  all  his  children 
find  by  sad  and  woful  experience  ;  and  shall  not  Christ  much  more 
communicate  a  power  to  us  to  do  good  in  our  measure  ?  Surely  he  doth, 
though  few  mind  it,  and  fewer  improve  it  as  they  should.*  If  there  be 
not  such  a  power  in  believers,  how  have  they  gained  more  by  the  second 
Adam  than  they  lost  by  the  first  ?  and  wherein  lies  the  excellency  of 
the  second  above  the  first  ? 

Fourthly  and  lastly.  All  those  exhortations  are  void,  and  of  none 
effect,  if  there  be  nx)t  some  power  in  souls  truly  gracious  to  do  good  ; 
as  all  those  exhortations  to  watchfulness,  to  stir  up  *  the  grace  of  God 
that  is  in  us,'  and  to  *  work  out  our  own  salvation  with  fear  and  trem- 
bling,' and  that  also,  'give  all  dilligence  to  make  your  calling  and 
election  sure.'  To  what  purpose  are  all  these  precious  exhortations,  if 
the  regenerate  man  have  no  power  at  all  to  act  anything  that  is  good  ? 
Nay,  then,  believers  under  the  covenant  of  grace  should  be  in  no  better 
a  condition  than  unregenerate  men  that  are  under  a  covenant  of  works, 
who  see  their  duties  discovered,  but  have  no  power  to  perform  ;  which 
is  contrary,  as  to  other  scriptures,  so  to  that  Ps.  xl.  7-9,  '  Then  said  I, 
Lo  I  come  :  in  the  volume  of  thy  book  it  is  written  of  me,  I  delight  to 
do  thy  will,  O  my  God  \  yea,  thy  law  is  within  my  heart,'  or, '  thy  law 
is  in  the  midst  of  my  bowels,'  as  the  Hebrew  reads  it ;  and  to  that  of 
Ezek*  xxxvi.  25-27,  &c.  A  soul  truly  gracious  can  sincerely  say,  '  Thy 
law,  O  Lord,  is  in  the  midst  of  my  bowels,  and  I  delight  to  do  thy  will, 

0  Lord.'     I  confess  I  cannot  do  as  I  should,  nor  I  shall  never  do  it  as 

1  would,  till  I  come  to  heaven  ;  but  this  I  can  say  in  much  uprightness, 
that  '  Thy  law  is  in  my  heart,  and  I  delight  to  do  thy  will,  O  Father.' 
And  so  Paul,  '  With  my  mind  1  serve  the  law  of  God,  though  with  my 
flesh  the  law  of  sin,'  Rom.  vii.  25. 

And  we  have  many  promises  concerning  divine  assistance,  and  if  we 
did  but  stir  up  the  grace  of  God  that  is  in  us,  we  should  find  the  assist- 
ance of  God,  and  the  glorious  breakings  forth  of  his  power  and  love, 
according  to  his  promise,  and  the  work  that  he  requires  of  us,  Isa.  xxvi.  12 ; 
Ixiv.  5,  &c.  Though  no  believer  doth  what  he  should  do,  yet  doubtless 
every  believer  might  do  more  than  he  doth  do,  in  order  to  God's  glory,  and 
his  own  and  others'  internal  and  eternal  good,  Isa.  xli.  10 ;  Heb.  xiii. 
5,  6,  &c.     Affection  without  endeavour  is  like  Rachel,  beautiful  but 

*  Omission  of  diet  breeds  diseases,  so  dotli  omission  of  duty,  and  makes  work  either  for 
repentance,  hell,  or  the  physician  of  souls. 

^  Ipse  unus  erit  tibi  omnia,  quia  in  ipso  una  bono,  bona  sunt  omnia.  — Augustine. 


136  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

barren.     They  are  blessed  that  do  what  they  can,  though  they  cannot 
but  underdo.^ 

When  Demosthenes  was  asked  what  was  the  first  part  of  an  orator, 
what  the  second,  what  the  third,  he  answered,  Action;  the  same  may  I 
say,  if  any  should  ask  me  what  is  the  first,  the  second,  the  third  part 
of  a  Christian,  I  must  answer,  Jlc^io?i.  Luther  saith,  'He  had  rather 
obey  than  work  miracles.'     *  Obedience  is  better  than  sacrifice.' 

But,  sir,  you  will  say,  what  is  the  meaning  of  that  text,  that  is  so 
often  in  the  mouths  of  professors,  '  Without  me  you  can  do  nothing'  ? 
John  XV.  5. 

I  answer.  All  that  that  text  holds  forth  is  this,  that  if  a  man  hath  not 
union  with  Christ,  if  he  be  not  implanted  into  Christ,  he  can  do  no- 
thing. '  Without  me,'  that  is,  separate  from  me,  or  apart  from  me,  as 
the  words  may  be  read,  '  you  can  do  nothing.'^  If  you  are  not  implanted 
into  me,  if  by  the  Spirit  and  faith  you  are  not  united  unto  me,  you  can 
do  nothing.  The  arm  may  do  much ;  it  may  offend  an  enemy,  and  it 
may  defend  a  man's  life,  by  virtue  of  its  union  with  the  head  ;  but  if 
you  separate  the  arm  from  the  head,  from  the  body,  what  can  it  do  ? 
Certainly  the  soul,  by  virtue  of  its  union  with  Christ,  may  do  much, 
though  such  as  are  separated  from  Christ  can  do  nothing,  at  least  as 
they  should.  Ah,  Christians  !  if  you  would  but  put  out  yourselves  to 
the  utmost,  you  would  find  the  Lord  both  ready  and  willing  to  assist 
you,  to  meet  with  you,  and  to  do  for  you  above  what  you  are  able  to 
ask  or  think.^ 

Caesar,  by  continual  employment,  overcame  two  constant  diseases, 
the  headache  and  the  falling  sickness.  Oh  the  spiritual  diseases  that 
the  active  Christian  overcomes !  Among  the  Egyptians,  idleness  was  a 
capital  crime.  Among  the  Lucani,*  he  that  lent  money  to  an  idle  per- 
son was  to  lose  it.  Among  the  Corinthians,  the  slothful  were  delivered 
to  the  carnifex,  saith  Diphilus.  Oh  !  the  deadly  sins,  the  deadly  temp- 
tations, the  deadly  judgments,  that  idle  and  slothful  Christians  are  given 
up  to.  Therefore  be  active,  be  diligent,  be  abundant  in  the  work  of 
the  Lord.  Idleness  is  the  very  source  of  sin.  Standing  pools  gather 
mud,  and  nourish  and  breed  venomous  creatures  ;  and  so  do  the  hearts 
of  idle  and  slothful  Christians,  &c. 

2.  Now  the  second  thing  that  we  are  to  do  for  the  further  opening 
of  this  point  is,  to  shew  you 

The  special  ends  that  the  gifts  and  graces  that  God  hath  bestowed 
upon  believers  should  be  exercised  and  improved  to. 

And  they  are  these  that  follow  : 

[].]  First,  They  are  to  be  improved  and  exercised  to  the  honour  of 
God,  to  the  lifting  up  of  God,  and  to  the  keeping  up  of  his  name  and 
glory  in  the  world,  I  Cor.  x.  81. 

He  that  improves  not  his  gifts  and  graces  to  this  end,  crosses  the 
grand  end  of  God's  bestowing  such  royal  favours  on  him.  Graces  and 
gifts  are  talents  that  God  hath  given  you  to  trade  with,  and  not  to  hide 
in  a  napkin.  Mat.  xxv.     The  idle  servant,  in  Christ's  account,  was  an 

^  Beati  sunt  qui  prcecepta  faciunt,  etiamsi  non  perficiunt. — Augustine. 
2  xu^);  l/^ou  is  seorsim  a  me.     Vide  Beza,  Cameron,  and  Piscator. 
'  Union  with  Christ  is  that  wherein  the  strength,  comfort,  and  happiness  of  the  soul 
does  consist.  •♦  As  before,  '  Lucaniani. ' — G. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  1 37 

evil  servant.     The  idle  soul,  in  Christ's  account,  is  an  evil  soul,  and 
accordingly  Christ  will  deal  with  him. 

Seneca  calls  sloth  '  the  nurse  of  beggary,  the  mother  of  misery  ;'^  and 
slothful  Christians  find  it  so.  Christians,  God  hath  given  you  grace, 
that  you  should  give  him  glory.  His  honour  should  be  dearer  to  you 
than  your  jewels,  than  your  crowns,  than  your  lives,  ay,  than  your  very 
souls.     Thou  livest  no  longer  than  thou  livest  to  his  praise. 

It  is  recorded  of  Epaminondas,  the  commander-in-chief  of  the  The- 
bans,  that  he  did  not  glory  in  anything  but  this,  '  That  his  father, 
whom  he  dearly  loved  and  honoured,  was  living  when  he  won  three 
famous  battles  against  the  Lacedaemonians,'^  that  were  then  held  for 
their  valour  to  be  invincible  ;  regarding  more  the  honour  and  content 
his  father  should  receive  of  it,  than  his  own.  Shall  a  heathen  thus 
strive  to  honour  his  earthly  father  ?  And  shall  not  Christians  strive 
more  to  honour  their  heavenly  Father  with  all  the  gifts  and  graces  that 
he  hath  conferred  upon  them. 

But  you  will  say,  How  should  we  honour  the  Lord  ? 

I  answer, 

(L)  By  a  free  and  frequent  acknowledgment  that  all  your  graces 
flow  from  the  Lord  Jesus,  the  fountain  of  grace:  John  i.  16,  '  Of  his  ful- 
ness we  all  receive  grace  for  grace.'  James  i.  17,  '  Every  good  and  perfect 
gift  comes  down  from  above,'  &c.  Thou  must  say,  O  Christian,  I  have  no- 
thing but  what  I  have  received  ;  I  have  no  light,  no  life,  no  love,  no  joy, 
no  peace,  but  from  above,  1  Cor.  iv.  7.  The  jewels  that  hang  in  my  breasts, 
and  the  chains  of  pearl  that  be  about  my  neck,  and  the  golden  crown 
that  is  upon  my  head,  and  all  the  sparkling  diamonds  in  that  crown, 
are  all  from  above,  Ezek.  xvi.  11-15,  Ps.  xlv.  8,  seq.  All  those  princely 
ornaments  by  which  I  am  made  more  beautiful  and  lovely  than  others, 
and  all  those  beds  of  spices  and  sweet  flowers,  by  which  I  am  made  more 
desirable  and  delectable,  is  from  above.  Say,  I  am  nothing.  I  have 
nothing  of  my  own  ;  all  I  am,  and  all  I  have,  is  from  on  high.  *  We 
have  given  thee  of  thine  own,'  says  David,  1  Chron.  xxix.  14.  So  do 
thou  say.  Lord,  the  love  with  which  I  love  thee,  is  thine  own  ;  and  the 
faith  by  which  I  hang  upon  thee,  is  thine  own  ;  and  the  fear  by  which 
I  fear  before  thee,  is  thine  own ;  and  the  joy  which  I  rejoice  before  thee 
with,  is  thine  own ;  and  the  patience  with  which  I  wait  upon  thee,  is 
thine  own.^  And  therefore  say,  as  David  did,  upon  the  receipt  of  mercy, 
'  Blessed  be  thou.  Lord  God  of  Israel  our  Father,  for  ever  and  ever. 
Thine,  O  Lord,  is  the  greatness,  and  the  power,  and  the  glory,  and  the 
victory,  and  the  majesty ;  for  all  that  is  in  the  heaven  and  in  the  earth 
is  thine  :  thine  is  the  kingdom,  O  Lord,  and  thou  art  exalted  as  head 
above  all.  Both  riches  and  honour  come  of  thee,  and  thou  reignest 
over  all ;  and  in  thine  hand  is  power  and  might ;  and  in  thine  hand 
it  is  to  make  great,  and  to  give  strength  unto  all.  Now  therefore,  our 
God,  we  thank  thee,  and  praise  thy  glorious  name.' 

(2.)  You  must  honour  him,  by  acknowledging  the  dependency  of 
your  graces  upon  the  fountain  of  grace.  And  that  your  strength  to 
stand  lies  not  so  much  in  your  graces,  as  in  their  dependency  upon  the 

»  Epist.  56  — G. 

2  Plutarch,  in  his  Morals  {suh  nomine  ;  Epaminondas. — G.]. 

^  Deus  nihil  coronal  nisi  dona  sica. — Augustine. 


138  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EpH.  III.  8. 

fountain  of  grace,  as  in  their  conjunction  with  the  God  of  grace.  A 
man  by  his  arm  may  do  much,  but  it  is  mainly  by  reason  of  its  union 
and  conjunction  with  the  head.  It  is  so  between  a  Christian's  graces 
and  Christ.  The  stream  doth  not  more  depend  upon  the  fountain,  nor 
the  branch  upon  the  root,  nor  the  moon  upon  the' sun,  nor  the  child 
upon  the  mother,  nor  the  effect  upon  the  cause,  than  our  graces  do 
depend  upon  the  fountain  of  grace,  Ps.  cxxxviii.  8,  Philip,  iv.  12,  13. 

Now  that  our  very  graces  do  thus  depend  upon  the  fountain  of  grace, 
and  that  our  strength  to  stand  lies  not  so  much  in  our  graces  as  in 
Christ,  is  clear  by  this,  that  the  graces  of  the  saints  may  and  do  most 
fail  them  when  they  have  most  need  of  them  :  Mark  iv.  40,  '  And  he 
said,  Why  are  ye  so  fearful  ?  How  is  it  that  ye  have  no  faith  ?'  When 
the  wind  was  high,  their  faith  was  low  ;  when  the  storm  was  great, 
their  faith  was  little  ;  so  Luke  viii.  25,  *  And  he  said  unto  them,  Where 
is  your  faith  V  Are  you  now  to  seek  it,  when  you  should  use  it  ?  Peter 
denied  Christ,  when  he  had  need  by  faith  to  have  confessed  Christ. 
Moses's  faith  failed  him,  when  it  should  have  been  most  serviceable  to 
him,  Num.  xx.  12.  And  David's  courage  failed  him,  when  it  should 
have  been  a  buckler  to  him,  1  Sam.  xxi.  13,  14.  And  the  disciples' 
love  failed  them,  when  it  should  have  been  most  useful  to  them,  John 
xiv.  28.  And  Job's  wisdom  and  patience  failed  him,  when  they  should 
have  been  greatest  supporters  to  him.  By  all  which  it  is  most  clear, 
that  not  only  ourselves,  but  also  our  very  graces,  must  be  supported  by 
the  God  of  grace,  the  fountain  of  grace,  or  else  they  will  be  to  seek 
when  we  most  need  them.^  Though  grace  is  a  glorious  creature,  it 
is  but  a  creature,  and  therefore  must  be  upheld  by  its  Creator.  Though 
grace  be  a  beautiful  child,  yet  it  is  but  a  child,  that  must  be  upheld  by 
the  Father's  arms.  This,  Christians,  you  must  remember,  and  give  glory 
to  God. 

(3.)  You  must  honour  him  hy  uncrowning  your  graces,  to  crown 
the  God  of  your  graces.  By  taking  the  crown  off  from  your  own  heads, 
and  putting  it  upon  his,  or  by  laying  it  down  at  his  feet,  as  they  did 
theirs,  in  Be  v.  iv.  10,  Acts  iii.  11,  12,  16,  and  iv.  7-10.  These  scrip- 
tures are  wells  of  living  waters ;  they  are  bee-hives  of  living  honey  ;  see 
and  taste.2  The  Lord  hath  often  uncrowned  himself,  to  crown  his 
people's  graces,  as  you  may  see  in  these  following  scriptures.  Mat.  ix.  22, 
and  XV.  28,  Mark  x.  52,  Luke  vii.  50.  And  why,  then,  should  not  his 
people  uncrown  their  graces  to  crown  him  %  Cant.  v.  10,  seq.  That  which 
others  attribute  to  your  graces,  do  you  attribute  to  the  God  of  grace. 
You  must  say.  Though  our  graces  are  precious,  yet  Christ  is  more  pre- 
cious ;  though  they  are  sweet,  yet  Christ  is  most  sweet ;  though  they 
are  lovely,  yet  Christ  is  altogether  lovely.  Your  graces  are  but  Christ's 
picture,  Christ's  image ;  and  therefore  do  not  you  worship  his  image, 
and  in  the  mean  while  neglect  his  person.  Make  much  of  his  picture, 
but  make  more  of  himself  Let  his  picture  have  your  eye,  but  let  him- 
self have  your  heart,  John  i.  39,  seq.     Your  graces  are  but  Christ's 

^  Though  our  graces  be  our  best  jewels,  yet  they  are  imperfect ;  and  as  the  moon 
shines  by  a  borrowed  light,  so  do  our  graces.  If  it  were  not  for  the  Sun  of  righteousness 
all  oiir  graces  would  give  no  light. 

^  Certum  est  no s  facer e  quodfacimus,  sed  illefacit,  ut  faciamus,  saith  Augustine.  True 
it  is  that  we  do  what  we  do,  but  it  is  as  true  that  Christ  makes  us  to  do  what  we  do. 


EpH.  III.  8.  J  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  189 

hands,  by  which  he  works ;  be  you  therefore  careful  that  you  do  not 
more  mind  the  workman's  hands  than  the  workman  himself.  Your 
graces  are  but  Christ's  servants,  therefore  do  not  smile  upon  the  ser- 
vant, and  look  asquint  upon  the  Master.  Your  graces  are  but  Christ's 
favourites  ;  therefore  do  not  so  stare  upon  them,  and  be  taken  with 
them,  as  to  forget  the  Prince  on  whom  they  wait,  &c.  All  I  drive  at 
is  this,  that  not  your  graces  but  Christ,  may  be  all  in  all  unto  you,  &c. 

[2.]  The  second  end  to  which  you  must  improve  your  gifts  and  graces, 
is  to  the  good  of  others  :  Ps.  Ixvi.  16,  *  Come  and  hear,  all  ye  that  fear 
God,sand  I  will  declare  what  he  hath  done  for  my  soul ;'  Ps.  xxxiv.  8, 
*  Oh  taste  and  see  that  the  Lord  is  good  :  blessed  is  the  man  that  trust- 
eth  in  him  ;'  Isa  ii.  3  ;  Acts  v.  26-29.  Bonum  est  communicativum. 
God  hath  given  you  gifts  and  grace,  to  that  very  end,  that  you  should 
improve  them  for  others'  good.  It  is  the  very  nature  of  grace  to  be 
diffusive  and  communicative.  Grace  cannot  be  long  concealed.  The 
better  anything  is,  the  more  communicative  it  will  be.  Grace  is  as  fire 
in  the  bones,  as  new  wine  in  the  bottles  ;  you  cannot  hide  it,  you  must 
give  vent  to  it :  Acts  iv.  28,  '  We  cannot  but  speak  the  things  that  we 
have  heard  and  seen  ;'  as  Croesus  his  dumb  son  did  for  his  father.^  Can 
the  fire  cease  to  turn  all  combustible  matter  into  fire  ?  can  the  candle, 
once  thoroughly  lighted,  cease  to  spend  itself  for  the  enlightening  of 
others  ?  Then  may  the  precious  sons  of  Zion  cease  to  give  light  to  others, 
by  their  examples,  counsels,  and  communicating  their  experiences.  No 
way  to  honour  God,  no  way  to  win  souls,  nor  no  way  to  increase  your 
own  gifts  and  graces,  than  to  exercise  them  for  the  good  of  others. 
Grace  is  not  like  to  worldly  vanities,  that  diminish  by  distribution  ;  nor 
like  candles  which  keep  the  same  light,  though  a  thousand  are  lighted 
by  them.  Grace  is  like  the  widow's  oil,  which  multiplied  by  pouring 
out,  2  Kings  iv  ;  and  like  those  talents  which  doubled  by  employment. 
Mat.  XXV. 

It  was  a  good  saying  of  one,  '  For  insensible  riches  those  who  pay 
their  money  do  diminish  their  substance,  and  they  who  receive  are 
made  richer,^  but  these  not  so,  but  both  he  who  numbereth  doth  much 
increase  his  substance,  and  doth  add  much  to  the  riches  of  the  receiver. 

Again,  by  how  much  more  we  pour  out  of  these  flowing  spiritual 
things,  by  so  much  those  spreading  in  abundance  are  greater  to  us  ;  for 
in  this  case  it  doth  not  happen  as  in  money,  for  there  they  who  tell  out 
to  their  neighbour  diminish  their  own  substance,  and  by  how  much 
the  more  he  spendeth,  by  so  much  the  less  money  he  possesseth  ;  but 
in  spirituals  it  is  quite  otherwise.' 

No  way  to  advance  the  kingdom  of  Christ  in  the  world  like  this,  of 
improving  your  gifts  and  graces  to  the  advantage  and  profit  of  others  ; 
no  love  nor  pity  to  the  precious  souls  of  men  like  this;  no  way  to  abound 
in  grace,  to  be  rich  in  grace  like  this  ;  nor  no  way  to  be  high  in  heaven 
like  this.*  Art  thou,  O  Christian,  bound  to  do  good  to  others,  by  com- 
municating earthly  things  ?     And  art  thou  not  much  more  bound  to  do 

^  As  before.     See  Index  under  Croesus.— G. 

2  Chrysost.  Horn.  Gen.  xv.  ^  Chrysost.  [Horn,  in  Gen.  viii — G.] 

*  Rom.  i.  11,  12  ;  2  Cor.  ix.  6.  Suetonius  tells  of  Augustus,  that  in  reading  all  sorts 
of  good  authors,  he  skilfully  picked  out  the  prime  precepts  and  patterns  of  valour  and 
virtue,  and  sent  the  same  to  such  of  his  servants  and  under-officers  for  tokens,  as  he 
thought  they  might  do  most  good  unto.     [Historise  Csesarum  :  Augustus. — G.] 


140  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

them  good  by  communicating  of  spiritual  things  ?  Surely  thou  art. 
Why  are  Christians  so  often  in  Scripture  compared  to  trees,  but  because 
of  their  fruitfulness  and  usefulness  to  others  ?  And  why  are  they  called 
'  stewards  of  the  manifold  gifts  of  God/  but  to  note  to  us,  that  their  gifts 
are  not  to  be  enclosed,  but  employed  for  the  good  of  others  ?  And 
why  hath  Christ  put  a  box  of  precious  ointment  into  every  Christian's 
hand,  but  that  it  should  be  opened  for  the  benefit  of  others  ?  Certainly, 
he  that  is  good  is  bound  to  do  good ;  for  gifts  and  graces  are  given,  not 
only  to  make  us  good,  and  keep  us  good,  but  also  to  make  us,  yea,  to 
provoke  us  to  do  good.  Lilmod  lelammed,  '  We  therefore  learn  that 
we  may  teach,'  is  a  proverb  among  the  rabbins.  *  And  I  do  therefore 
lay  in,  and  lay  up,'  saith  the  heathen,  *  that  I  may  draw  forth  again,  and 
lay  out  for  the  good  of  many.'  I  think  they  are  no  good  Cliristians 
that  shall  scorn  to  learn  this  good  lesson,  though  of  a  heathen.  And 
oh  that  all  that  write  themselves  Christians,  were  so  good  as  to  imitate 
the  good  that  shined  in  many  heathens !  To  me  it  is  very  sad,  that 
Christians  that  live  and  act  below  the  very  heathens,  should  be  offended 
to  hear  now  and  then  of  those  excellencies  that  sparkled  in  the  very 
heathens.  I  think  that  is  a  very  evil  spirit,  that  cannot  endure  to  hear 
of  those  excellencies  in  others  that  he  wants  himself.  Certainly  he  is 
a  brave  Christian,  and  hath  much  of  Christ  within,  that  accounts  no- 
thing his  own  that  he  doth  not  communicate  to  others.  The  bee  doth 
store  her  hive  out  of  all  sorts  of  flowers  for  the  common  benefit,  and 
why  then  in  this  should  not  every  Christian  be  like  a  bee  ? 

Synesius  speaks  of  some,  who  having  a  treasure  of  rare  abilities  in 
them,  would  as  soon  part  with  their  hearts  as  their  corruptions.  I  think 
they  are  rather  monsters  than  real  Christians,  that  are  of  such  a  spirit. 

[3.]  The  third  and  last  thing  to  which  you  are  to  improve  your  gifts 
and  graces  is,  to  the  benefit  and  profit  of  your  own  souls.  Not  to  im- 
prove them  to  your  own  internal  and  eternal  good,  is  with  a  high  hand 
to  cross  the  main  end  of  God's  conferring  them  upon  you.  Ah,  Chris- 
tians !  you  must  improve  them  to  the  strengthening  of  you  against 
temptations,  to  the  supporting  of  you  under  afflictions,  to  the  keeping 
under  of  strong  corruptions,  to  the  sweetening  of  all  mutations,  and  to 
the  preparing  and  fitting  of  you  for  the  days  of  your  dissolution.^ 

'  I  shall  content  myself  with  giving  you  this  hint,  because  I  have  be- 
fore spoken  more  fully  to  this  head. 

And  thus  we  have  done  with  the  doctrinal  part. 

We  shall  come  now  to  make  some  use  and  application  of  this  point 
to  ourselves. 

If  this  be  so,  that  it  is  the  duty  of  Christians  to  improve  and  exercise 
the  gifts  and  graces  that  the  Lord  hath  given  them. 

Then,  in  the ^rs^  place,  this  looks  very  sourly  and  wishly  upon  all 
lazy,  idle,  negligent  Christians,  that  do  not  stir  up  themselves  to  lay 
hold  on  God,  that  do  not  stir  up  the  grace  of  the  Lord  in  them.  It  is 
sad  to  consider  how  many  Christians  can  stir  up  themselves  to  lay  hold 
on  all  opportunities  to  make  themselves  great  and  rich  in  the  world,  and 
yet  suffer  their  golden  gifts  and  graces  even  to  grow  rusty  for  want  of 

*  The  good  of  the  soul  is  specially  to  be  minded  :  (1.)  because  it  is  the  most  notable 
part  of  man  ;  (2.)  because  the  image  of  God  is  most  fairly  stamped  upon  it ;  (3.)  because 
it  is  first  converted  ;  (4.)  because  it  shall  be  first  glorified. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  141 

exercise.^  It  is  sad  to  see  how  busy  many  men  are  to  exercise  and  im- 
jDrove  a  talent  of  riches,  who  yet  bind  up  their  talents  of  gifts  and  grace 
in  a  napkin.  By  these  God  loses  much  honour  and  praise,  and  them- 
selves lose  much  comfort  and  content,  and  others  lose  much  profit  and 
benefit,  and  the  gospel  loses  much  credit  and  glory. 

But  the  main  use  that  I  shall  make  of  this  point,  shall  be  to  exhort 
and  stir  you  all  up,  to  make  a  blessed  improvement  of  your  graces. 

And  indeed  it  is  a  point  of  most  singular  use  to  us  all  our  days,  a 
truth  that  is  ever}^  day  of  very  great  concernment  to  our  souls. 

Now  there  are  seven  considerations  that  I  shall  propound  by  way  of 
motive,  to  stir  up  your  souls  to  make  a  blessed  improvement  of  the 
grace  and  gifts  you  have  received. 

[1.]  And  the  first  is  this :  seriously  consider,  that  the  exercise  and 
improvement  of  grace  in  your  souls,  will  be  more  and  more  the  death 
and  ruin  of  sin  in  your  souls. 

Take  it  from  experience  ;  there  is  not  a  choicer  way  than  this  for  a 
man  to  bring  under  the  power  of  his  sin,  than  to  keep  up  the  exercise 
of  his  grace.  Sin  and  grace  are  like  two  buckets  at  a  well,  when  one  is 
up  the  other  is  down  ;  they  are  like  the  two  laurels  at  Rome,  when  one 
flourishes  the  other  withers.  Certainly,  the  readiest  and  the  surest  way 
to  bring  under  the  power  of  sin,  is  to  be  much  in  the  exercise  of  grace  : 
Rom.  viii.  10,  '  And  if  Christ  be  in  you,  the  body  is  dead  because  of 
sin  :  but  the  spirit  is  life  because  of  righteousness.'  The  life  and 
activity  of  Christ  and  grace  in  the  soul,  is  the  death  and  destruction  of 
sin  in  the  soul.  The  more  grace  acts  in  the  soul,  the  more  sin  withers 
and  dies  in  the  soul.  The  stronger  the  house  of  David  grew,  2  Sam.  iii., 
the  weaker  the  house  of  Saul  grew.  As  the  house  of  David  grew  every 
day  stronger  and  stronger,  so  the  house  of  Saul  every  day  grew  weaker 
and  weaker.  So  the  activity  of  the  new  man  is  the  death  of  the  old 
man.  When  Christ  began  to  bestir  himself  in  the  temple,  the  money- 
changers quickly  fled  out.  Mat.  xxi.  12-14.  So  when  grace  is  active 
and  stirring  in  the  soul,  corruption  quickly  flies.  A  man  may  find  out 
many  ways  to  hide  his  sin,  but  he  will  never  find  out  any  way  to  subdue 
his  sin,  but  by  the  exercise  of  grace.  Of  all  Christians,  none  so  morti- 
fied as  those  in  whom  grace  is  most  exercised.  Sin  is  a  viper  that  must 
be  killed,  or  it  will  kill  you  for  ever  ;  and  there  is  no  way  to  kill  it  but 
by  the  exercise  of  grace. 

[2.]  Secondly,  Consider  this  by  way  of  motive  to  provoke  you  to 
exercise  and  improve  your  graces.  The  exercise  and  improvement  of 
your  graces  will  provoke  others  to  bless  and  admire  the  God  of  grace. 
'  Let  your  light  so  shine  before  men,  that  they  may  see  your  good  works, 
and  glorify  your  Father  which  is  in  heaven,'^  Mat.  v.  16, — the  light  of 
your  conversation,  and  the  light  of  your  graces.     Oh  how  many  thou- 

1  Cupid  complained  he  could  never  fasten  upon  the  muses,  because  he  could  never  find 
them  idle.  No  Christians  so  free  from  Satan's  assaults  as  active  Christians  are,  nor  none 
so  tempted  as  idle  Christians.  The  Jewish  Kabbins  report,  that  the  same  night  that 
Israel  departed  out  of  Egypt  towards  Canaan,  all  the  idols  and  idolatrous  temples  in 
Egypt,  by  lightning  and  earthquakes,  were  broken  down.  So  when  grace  and  holiness 
is  set  up  in  the  heart,  all  the  idols  of  Satan,  which  are  men's  lusts,  are  thrown  down. 

2  The  exercise  of  virtue  will  draw  love  from  a  man's  very  enemies.  Tilligny,  for  his 
rare  virtues,  was  reserved  from  death  by  his  greatest  enemies  at  the  massacre  of  Paris  ; 
as  you  may  see  in  the  French  history  in  the  Life  of  Charles  the  Ninth. 


142  THE  UNSEAKCHABLE  [EpH.  III.  8. 

sand  souls  be  there  now  triumphing  in  heaven,  whose  gifts  and  graces 
shined  gloriously  when  they  were  on  earth.  And  ah  !  how  many  thou- 
sands are  there  now  on  earth,  that  bless  and  admire  the  Lord  for  the 
shine  of  their  graces  who  are  now  in  heaven ;  that  bless  the  Lord  for 
the  faith  of  Abraham,  and  the  zeal  of  David,  and  the  meekness  of 
Moses,  and  the  patience  of  Job,  and  the  courage  of  Joshua,  &c.  Ah, 
Christians  !  as  you  would  stir  up  others  to  exalt  the  God  of  grace,  look 
to  the  exercise  and  improvement  of  your  graces.  When  poor  servants 
shall  live  in  a  family,  and  see  the  faith  of  a  master,  and  the  love  of  a 
master,  and  the  wisdom  of  a  master,  and  the  patience  of  a  master,  and 
the  humility  of  a  master,  &c.,  shining  like  so  many  stars  of  heaven,  oh 
how  doth  it  draw  forth  their  hearts  to  bless  the  Lord,  that  ever  they 
came  into  such  a  family !  It  is  not  a  profession  of  religion,  but  the 
exercise  and  improvement  of  grace,  that  contributes  so  much  to  the 
lifting  up  the  glory  of  the  Lord,  and  to  the  greatening  of  his  praise  in 
the  world.  Many  saints  have  had  their  hearts  warmed  and  heated  by 
sitting  by  other  saints'  fires,  by  eyeing  and  dwelling  upon  other  saints 
graces.  Ah  !  when  men's  graces  shine  as  Moses  his  face  did,  when  their 
lives,  as  one  speaketh  of  Joseph's  life,  is  a  very  heaven,  sparkling  with 
variety  of  virtues,  as  with  so  many  bright  stars  ;  ah !  how  are  others 
stirred  up  to  glorify  God,  and  to  cry  out.  These  are  Christians  indeed  ! 
These  are  an  honour  to  their  God,  a  crown  to  their  Christ,  and  a  credit 
to  their  gospel.  Oh  !  if  they  were  all  such,  we  would  be  Christians  too. 
It  is  a  very  great  stumbling-block  to  many  poor  sinners,  to  see  men 
that  make  a  very  great  and  large  profession  of  Christ,  never  to  exercise 
and  shew  forth  the  virtues  of  Christ.  They  profess  they  know  him,  and 
yet  by  the  non-exercise  of  his  virtues  they  deny  him.^ 

It  was  one  of  Machiavel's  principles,  that  the  appearance  of  virtue  was 
only  to  be  sought,  because  the  use  of  it,  saith  he,  is  a  trouble,  but  the 
credit  of  it  a  help.  I  am  afraid  that  this  cursed  soul-darnning  principle 
is  the  best  flower  that  grows  in  many  men's  gardens  in  these  days. 
Though  there  is  no  virtue  but  is  as  a  bright  stone  in  a  dark  night,  it 
shines  and  shews  its  clearness  and  beauty  ;  it  is  as  pure  gold,  the 
brighter  for  passing  through  the  fire ;  yet  how  do  most  covet  rather  the 
name  of  virtue,  than  to  be  really  virtuous  !  Such,  I  believe,  shall  have 
the  hottest  and  the  lowest  place  in  hell.^  Well,  Christians,  remember 
this,  it  is  not  a  show  of  grace,  but  the  exercise  of  grace,  that  will  pro- 
voke others  to  glorify  the  fountain  of  grace.  That  is  a  very  remarkable 
scripture,  1  Thes.  i.  2,  3,  8,  compared,  '  We  give  thanks  to  God  always 
for  you,  making  mention  of  you  in  our  prayers  ;  remembering  without 
ceasing  your  work  of  faith,  and  labour  of  love,  and  patience  of  hope  in 
our  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  in  the  sight  of  God,  and  our  Father.  For  from 
you  sounded  out  the  word  of  the  Lord,  not  only  in  Macedonia  and 
Achaia,  but  also  in  every  place  your  faith  to  God-ward  is  spread  abroad.' 
In  this  eighth  verse  you  have  an  elegant  metaphor,  which  signifies, 
that  their  faith  was  so  lively,  that  with  its  sound,  as  it  were,  it  stirred 
up  other  nations.     The  Greek  word  is  to  sound  as  with  the  sound  of  a 

*  Those  in  whom  virtue  is  extinguished  are  like  unto  painted  and  printed  papers,  which 
ignorant  men  honour  and  worship  instead  of  Christ. — Raleigh. 

2  Hypocritis  nihil  est  crudelius,  impatientius  et  vindicta  cupidius,  there  is  not  a  more 
cruel  creature,  more  impatient  and  vindictive,  than  an  hypocrite,  saith  Luther,  who  had 
the  experience  of  it ;  therefore  trust  not  to  the  Machiavels  of  the  times. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  143 

trumpet,  to  make  to  sound  afar  off.  Says  the  apostle,  your  graces  made  a 
noise  like  a  trumpet ;  they  stirred  up  others  to  be  gracious  and  active, 
as  the  trumpet  stirs  up  men  to  war.  So  in  2  Peter  i.  3,  4,  *  We  are 
bound  to  give  thanks  to  God  always  for  you,  brethren,  as  it  is  meet,  be- 
cause that  your  faith  groweth  exceedingly,  and  the  charity  of  every  one 
of  you  all  towards  each  other  abound eth.  So  that  we  ourselves  glory 
in  you  the  churches  of  God,  for  your  patience  and  faith,  in  all  your  per- 
secutions and  tribulations  that  you  endure.'  Hoc  enim  angelicum, 
this  is  the  character  of  the  angelical  nature,  to  rejoice  in  the  graces  and 
gracious  actings  of  others.  He  that  acts  otherwise  holds  forth  the 
image  of  the  devil,  and  declares  himself  a  native  of  hell.^ 

[3.]  Thirdly,  Consider  that  the  exercise  and  improvement  of  grace, 
may  he  a  special  means  to  stir  up  the  exercise  of  grace  in  others.^ 

Your  improvement  of  grace  may  be  a  special  means  to  stir  up  others 
to  improve  their  graces  also.  1  Thes.  i,  7,  '  So  that  we  were  ensamples 
to  all  that  believe  in  Macedonia  and  Achaia.'  Or  as  the  Greek  is,  '  you 
were  types,  moulds,'  ru-7:ovg,  patterns  of  piety  to  them  that  were  in 
Christ  long  before  you.  So  in  2  Cor.  ix.  2,  '  For  I  know  the  forwardness 
of  your  mind,  for  which  I  boast  of  you  to  them  of  Macedonia,  that  Achaia 
was  ready  a  year  ago,  and  your  zeal  hath  provoked  very  many.'  I  knew 
you  were  forward,  and  this  I  boasted  of ;  I  made  it  my  glory  to  tell  how 
grace  shined  in  your  souls.  '  And,'  saith  he,  '  your  zeal  hath  provoked 
many.'  When  they  saw  how  warm  and  lively,  and  active,  how  open- 
handed  and  open-hearted  you  were  to  the  poor  saints,  their  hearts  were 
stirred  up  to  acts  of  charity  also.  Stories  speak  of  some  that  could  not 
sleep  when  they  thought  of  the  trophies  of  other  worthies  that  went 
before  them.  The  highest  examples  are  very  quickening  and  pro- 
voking.^ 

That  this  may  stick  upon  your  souls,  I  beseech  you  bed  and  board, 
rise  and  walk  with  this  one  consideration,  viz.,  that  all  the  good  you 
provoke  others  to  by  counsel  or  example,  shall  be  put  down  to  your 
account.  It  shall  certainly  turn  to  your  internal  and  eternal  advantage. 
In  the  great  day,  Christ  will  make  honourable  mention  of  all  the  good 
that  thou  hast  stirred  and  provoked  others  to,  and  will  reward  thee 
for  it  before  angels  and  men.  The  faith,  the  love,  the  hope,  the  charity, 
the  patience,  &c.,  that  thou  hast  provoked  others  to,  shall  be  put  down 
to  thy  account,  as  if  thou  hadst  been  the  only  actor  of  them,  &c.  As 
all  the  sins  that  men  provoke  or  stir  up  others  to  by  their  counsel  or 
example,  shall  be  put  down  to  their  accounts,  as  you  may  see  in  David. 
David  did  but  send  a  letter  concerning  the  death  of  Uriah,  and  yet  the 
charge  cometh,  '  Thou  hast  slain  Uriah  with  the  sword,'  2  Sam.  xii.  9. 
As  whatsoever  is  done  by  letter,  counsel,  or  example,  to  provoke  others 
to  sin,  shall  certainly  be  charged  upon  men's  accounts  at  last,  so  what- 

'  Pliny  tells  of  some  in  the  remote  parts  of  India,  that  they  have  no  mouths.  We  have 
many  siich  monsters  among  us,  that  have  no  mouths  to  bless  God  for  the  good  that  shines 
in  others.     [The  Psylli,  as  before. — G.] 

2  The  complaint  is  ancient  in  Seneca,  that  commonly  men  live  not  ad  rationem,  but 
ad  similiiudinem. — Seneca,  de  vita  heati,  cap.  1. 

3  Prcecepta  docent,  exempla  movent,  precepts  may  instruct,  but  examples  do  persuade. 
[A  reminiscence  of  St  Leo,  '  Validiora  sunt  exempla,  quam  verba'  {Ve  Jejun)  ;  or  Bernard, 
'  Validior  operis  quam  oris  vox — vox  oris  sonat,  vox  operis  tonat.'  (Serm.  on  Canticles, 
as  before,  5. — G.] 


144  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

soever  good  thou  dost  stir  up  others  to,  that  shall  be  set  upon  thy  score, 
and  shall  turn  to  thy  eternal  account  in  the  day  of  Christ.  Oh  !  who 
would  not  then  labour  with  all  their  might,  even  day  and  night,  to  stir  up 
the  grace  of  the  Lord  in  themselves  and  others,  seeing  it  shall  turn  to 
such  a  glorious  account  in  that  day  wherein  Christ  shall  say  to  his 
Father,  '  Lo,  here  am  I,  and  the  children  that  thou  hast  given  me,'  &c.^ 

[4.]  Fourthly,  consider  this,  the  exercise  and  imj^rovement  of  gruce, 
contributes  very  much  both  to  the  stopping  the  mouths  of  your  enemies, 
and  to  the  rendering  of  you  lovely  in  the  very  eyes  of  your  enemies. 
Oh  !  there  is  nothing  in  all  the  world  that  contributes  so  much  to  the 
stopping  of  the  mouths  of  your  enemies,  and  to  the  rendering  of  your 
souls  lovely  in  the  eyes  of  your  enemies,  as  the  exercise  and  improve- 
ment of  your  graces.  As  you  may  see  in  David,  David  improved  his 
grace  to  a  glorious  height,  and  says  Saul,  '  Thou  art  more  righteous 
than  T,'  1  Sam.  xxiv.  17.  John  improved  his  grace  to  a  glorious  height, 
and  was  much  in  the  exercise  of  it,  and  what  follows  ?  why,  *  Herod 
feared  and  reverenced  him,  knowing  that  he  was  a  just  and  a  holy  man,' 
Mark  vi.  20.  Oh  !  how  did  the  wisdom,  faith,  and  holiness  of  Joseph, 
Daniel,  and  the  three  children  silence  their  most  enraged  adversaries  ! 
yea,  what  a  deal  of  honour  did  the  exercise  of  their  graces  cause  those 
heathen  princes  to  put  upon  them?^  1  Peter  ii.  15,  '  For  so  is  the  will 
of  God,  that  by  well-doing  ye  may  put  to  silence  the  ignorance  of  foolish 
men/  It  is  not  all  the  talking  and  profession  in  the  world  that  can 
stop  the  mouths  of  foolish  men  ;  it  must  be  well-doings,  grace  improved, 
grace  exercised  and  manifested  in  ways  of  holiness,  that  must  work  so 
great  a  wonder  as  to  stop  the  mouths  of  wicked  men. 

The  Greek  word  that  is  here  translated  well-doing,  uyadmoiovvrag  is 
a  participle  of  the  present  tense,  and  notes  the  continual  custom  of 
well-doing.  And  indeed,  nothing  but  a  continual  course  of  well-doing 
will  be  able  to  stop  the  mouths  of  wicked  persons.  It  is  not  a  fit  of 
holiness,  but  a  course,  that  can  produce  so  great  a  miracle  as  to  stop  the 
mouths  of  wicked  men  :  '  That  ye  might  stop  the  mouths  of  ungodly 
men.' 

The  Greek  is,  'that  ye  may  muzzle,'  or,  'halter  up,'  (pifiovv,  from 
(pifMou.  There  is  no  way  in  the  world  to  button,  muzzle,  or  halter  up 
the  mouths  of  wicked  men,  but  by  the  exercise  of  your  graces  in  ways 
of  well-doing.  Oh  !  this  will  cause  you  to  be  well  thought  of,  and  well 
spoken  of ;  this  is  that  that  will  make  even  wicked  men  to  say.  These 
are  Christians  indeed !  these  are  they  that  have  not  only  a  name  to 
live,  but  are  alive ;  that  have  not  only  a  form  of  godliness,  but  the 
power.  A  Christian's  exercise  of  faith  in  times  of  wants,  and  of  patience 
in  times  of  affliction,  and  of  courage  in  times  of  temptation,  and  of  con- 
ten  tation^  in  times  of  opposition,  &c.,  doth  mightily  silence  and  stop  the 
mouths  of  the  worst  of  men. 

Henry  the  Second  of  France,  being  present  at  the  martyrdom  of  a 
certain  tailor  burnt  by  him  for  religion,  was  so  terrified  by  beholding 
the  wisdom,  courage,  faith,  and  constancy  of  the  said  martyr,  that  he 

'  They  shall  shine  as  so  many  suns  in  heaven,  who  are  much  in  stirring  and  provoking 
of  others  to  the  exercise  of  grace  and  holiness,  Dan.  xii.  3,  vi.  1,  2. 

2  So  what  a  deal  of  respect  and  honour  did  Alexander  the  Great  put  upon  Judas  the 
high  priest,  Theodosius  upon  Ambrose,  and  Constantine  upon  Paphnutius,  kissing  that 
eye  of  his  that  was  bored  out  for  the  cause  of  Christ,  &c.         ^  q^^  « contestation '  ? — Ed. 


EpH.  Ill  8.]  BICHES  OF  CHRIST.  145 

swore  at  his  going  away,  *  that  he  would  never  be  any  more  present  at 
such  a  sight/ ^ 

[5.]  Fifthly,  Dwell  much  upon  the  sweet  nature  of  grace,  if  you 
would  have  your  souls  carried  out  to  the  exercise  and  improvement  of 
grace. 

The  name  of  grace  and  the  nature  of  grace  is  very  sweet.  The 
Hebrew  word  that  is  rendered  grace  signifies  favour  and  mercy ;  and 
it  answers  to  the  Greek  word  %a^/g,  that  signifies  favour  and  mercy ; 
and  some  derive  the  Greek  word  from  a  word  that  signifies  joy,^  because 
grace  begets  the  greatest  joy  and  sweetness  in  the  spirits  of  men  that 
possibly  can  be.^ 

Grace  is  compared  to  the  sweetest  things ;  to  sweet  spices,  to  wine 
and  milk.  Grace  is  a  beam  of  the  Sun  of  righteousness,  the  Lord  Jesus 
Christ.  Grace  is  a  sweet  flower  of  paradise,  a  spark  of  glory,  &c.  It 
is  cherished  and  maintained  by  that  sweet  word,  that  is  sweeter  than 
the  honey  or  the  honey-comb,  and  by  sweet  union  and  communion  with 
the  Father  and  the  Son.*  It  is  exercised  about  the  sweetest  objects, 
viz.,  God,  Christ,  promises,  and  future  glory.  It  sweetens  all  your  ser- 
vices and  duties.  Your  best  performances  are  but  stinking  sacrifices,  if 
they  are  not  attended  with  the  exercise  of  grace.  Grace  is  that  heavenly 
salt  that  makes  all  our  services  savoury  and  sweet  in  the  nostrils  of  God. 
Grace  is  of  the  greatest  and  sweetest  use  to  the  soul ;  it  is  an  anchor  at 
sea,  and  a  shield  at  land ;  it  is  a  staff  to  uphold  the  soul,  and  a  sword  to 
defend  the  soul ;  it  is  bread  to  strengthen  the  soul,  and  wine  to  cheer 
the  soul ;  it  is  physic  to  cure  all  diseases,  and  a  plaster  to  heal  all 
wounds,  and  a  cordial  to  strengthen  the  soul  under  all  faintings,  &c. 
Grace  is  thy  eye  to  see  for  Christ,  thy  ear  to  hear  for  Christ,  thy  head 
to  contrive  for  Christ,  thy  tongue  to  speak  for  Christ,  thy  hand  to  do  for 
Christ,  and  thy  feet  to  walk  with  Christ.  Grace  makes  men  of  the  fro- 
wardest,  sourest,  crabbedest  natures,  to  be  of  a  sweet,  lovely,  amiable, 
pleasing  temper,  Isa.  xi.  7-9.  It  turns  lions  into  lambs,  wolves  into 
sheep,  monsters  into  men,  and  men  into  angels,  as  you  may  see  in 
Manasseh,  Paul,  Mary  Magdalene,  Zaccheus,  and  others.  Yet  sometimes 
grace,  in  a  rugged  unhewn  nature,  is  like  a  gold  ring  on  a  leprous  hand, 
or  a  diamond  set  in  iron,  or  a  jewel  in  a  swine's  snout,  &c.^ 

[6.]  Sixthly,  By  way  of  motive,  consider  this,  that  wicked  men  do 
exercise  and  improve  to  the  uttermost,  all  those  principles  of  wicked- 
ness that  he  in  them,  against  the  ways  of  God,  the  honour  of  God,  and 
the  comforts  of  the  saints. 

Now  shall  wicked  men  improve  all  their  principles  to  the  uttermost 
against  God,  his  truth,  and  saints,  &c. ;  and  shall  not  saints  improve 
their  graces  to  the  honour  of  God,  the  advancement  of  truth,  and  the 
joy  and  benefit  one  of  another  ?  You  may  see  the  activity  of  wicked 
men's  spirits  in  Pro  v.  iv.  16,  *  They  sleep  not  unless  they  have  done  mis- 
chief, and  their  sleep  is  taken  away,  unless  they  cause  some  to  fall.' 

»  Epit.  Hist.  Gal.  82. 

^  Cf.  Sibbes,  note  e,  vol.  iii.  p.  529,  on  z'^S'^  ^^^  Z"-i(^'^' — Cr* 

3  Grace  is  a  panoply  against  all  troubles,  and  a  paradise  of  all  pleasures. 

*  Cant.  iv.  10,  14,  16,  vi.  2  ;  Isa.  Iv.  1,  2  ;  Ps.  cxix.  103  ;  1  John  i.  3,  4. 

^  Latimer  told  the  clergy  and  the  bishops,  that  if  they  would  not  learn  diligence  and 
vigilance  of  the  prophets  and  apostles,  they  should  learn  it  of  the  devil,  who  goes  up  and 
down  his  diocese. 

VOL.  III.  K 


146  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

Oh,  they  cannot  rest !  '  The  wicked  are  like  the  troubled  sea,'  as  Isaiah 
speaks,  '  when  it  cannot  rest,  whose  waters  cast  up  mire  and  dirt,'  Isa. 
Ivii.  20,  21.^  So  in  2  Pet.  ii.  14,  '  Having  eyes  full  of  adultery,  that  can- 
not cease  from  sin,  beguiling  unstable  souls/  An  heart  they  have,  exer- 
cised with  covetous  practices  ;  cursed  children,'  they  break  all  promises 
and  covenants  with  God  and  man,  as  Samson  did  the  new  ropes.  So 
in  Prov.  xix.  19,  'A  man  of  great  wrath  shall  suffer  punishment,  for  if 
thou  deliver  him,  yet  thou  must  do  it  again.'  The  Hebrew  word 
tosiph  signifies  to  add.  Saith  he.  Thou  must  add  deliverance  to  deliver- 
ance, for  he  will  still  be  a-adding  sin  to  sin.  So  the  Kadix,  jasaph,  is 
used,  Deut.  xxix.  19,  and  in  several  other  scriptures.  Such  sinners  make 
God  a  god  of  clouts,  one  that  will  not  do  as  he  saith.  Ahab,  after  he 
was  threatened  with  utter  rooting  out,  begat  fifty  sons,  as  it  were  to 
cross  God,  and  to  try  it  out  with  him.  Let  God  thunder  in  his  judg- 
ments, yet  he  will  add  sin  to  sin,  he  will  proceed  from  evil  to  evil,  till 
he  comes  to  the  very  top  of  evil,  viz.,  to  be  hardened  in  sin,  and  to  scoff 
at  holiness,  &c.,  Jer.  ix.  3. 

The  old  Italians  were  wont,  in  time  of  thunder,  to  shoot  off  their 
greatest  ordnance,  and  to  ring  their  greatest  bells,  to  drown  the  noise 
of  the  heavens.  So  let  God  thunder  from  heaven,  yet  wicked  men  will 
so  improve  their  wicked  principles,  that  their  consciences  may  not  hear 
the  noise  of  the  thunder-claps  of  divine  displeasure.'^  The  covetous  man 
will  improve  his  earthly  principles,  and.the  ambitious  man  his  ambitious 
principles,  and  the  voluptuous  man  his  voluptuous  principles,  and  the 
unchaste  man  his  unclean  principles,  and  the  erroneous  man  his  errone- 
ous principles,  and  the  blasphemous  man  his  blasphemous  principles,  &c. 
Ah  sirs  !  shall  wicked  men  thus  improve  their  wicked  principles  to  the 
uttermost  against  God,  Christ,  and  religion,  and  against  the  prosperity, 
peace,  joy,  and  happiness  of  the  saints  ?  And  shall  not  saints  improve 
their  graces  to  the  uttermost  for  the  honour  of  the  Lord,  the  advance- 
ment of  religion,  and  the  mutual  profit  and  benefit  of  each  other  ? 

[7.]  Seventhly,  The  more  high  and  excellent  any  man  is  in  grace, 
the  more  highly  he  shall  be  exalted  in  glory. 

Oh !  therefore,  exercise  your  grace,  improve  your  grace.  As  you 
would  be  high  in  heaven,  labour  to  improve  your  graces  much  while  you 
are  here  on  earth  ;  for  glory  will  be  given  out  at  last  according  to  the 
exercise  and  improvement  of  your  grace. 

The  more  high  and  improved  a  man's  graces  be,  the  more  that  man  will 
do  for  God  ;  and  the  more  any  man  doth  for  God,  the  more  at  last  shall 
he  receive  from  God  ;  1  Cor.  xv.  58,  '  Therefore,  my  beloved  brethren,  be 
ye  stedfast,  unmoveable,  always  abounding  in  the  work  of  the  Lord, 
forasmuch  as  you  know  that  your  labour  is  not  in  vain  in  the  Lord.' 
So  Gal.  vi.  7,  seq.,  '  He  that  sows  sparingly  shall  reap  sparingly  ;  but  he 
that  sows  liberally  shall  reap  liberally.'^     The  more  any  man  hath  im- 

•  The  Hebrew  word  y'wJ'l,  rashang,  signifies  properly  ^ovn^is,  a  laborious  sinner,  a  prac- 
titioner in  sin.  The  verb  rashang  signifies  to  make  a  stir,  to  be  exceeding  busy,  unquiet, 
or  troublesome,  &c. 

2  Witness  Ahab,  Haman,  Jehu,  Jeroboam,  the  fool  in  the  Gospel,  and  those  in  Mat. 
xxiii.  14-16. 

3  Darius,  before  he  came  to  the  kingdom,  received  a  garment  for  a  gift  of  one  Syloson, 
and  when  he  became  king,  he  rewarded  him  with  the  command  of  bis  country,  Samos, 
&c.     [As  before.     See  Index,  sub  nomine. — G.] 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  147 

proved  his  grace,  the  more  that  man  will  be  able  to  bear  and  suffer  for 
God ;  and  the  more  any  man  bears  and  suffers  for  God,  the  more  glory 
shall  that  man  have  at  last  from  God :  Mat.  v.  11,  12,  '  Blessed  are  ye 
when  men  shall  revile  you,  and  persecute  you,  and  shall  say  all  manner 
of  evil  against  you  falsely  for  my  sake  ;  rejoice  and  be  exceeding  glad,' 
or  *  leap  and  dance  for  joy,  leap  and  skip  for  joy,'  &c.  Why  so  ?  '  For 
great  is  your  reward  in  heaven.'  God  is  a  liberal  paymaster,  and  no 
small  things  can  fall  from  so  great  and  so  gracious  a  hand  as  his.  The 
more  excellent  any  man  is  in  grace,  the  more  he  is  the  delight  of  God. 
Ps.  xvi.  3,  4,  '  My  goodness  extendeth  not  to  thee,  but  to  the  saints  that 
are  in  the  earth,  and  to  the  excellent,  in  whom  is  all  my  delight."  Now 
this  is  spoken  in  the  person  of  Christ,  for  the  apostle  applies  these  words 
to  Christ,  Acts  ii.  25.  Now  saith  Christ,  '  My  goodness  reaches  not  to 
thee,'  O  Father  !  '  but  to  the  saints,  and  to  the  excellent,  in  whom  is  all 
my  delight.'  And  doubtless,  they  that  are  his  greatest  delight  on  earth, 
shall  be  possessed  of  the  greatest  glory  in  heaven.  If  fathers  give  the 
greatest  portions  to  those  children  in  whom  they  delight,  why  should 
not  Christ  ?  Is  it  equity  in  the  one,  and  iniquity  in  the  other  ?  Surely 
no.     Christ  may  do  with  his  own  as  he  pleases.^ 

Again,  the  more  any  man  improves  his  grace,  the  clearer,  sweeter, 
fuller,  and  richer  is  his  enjoyments  of  God  here.  There  is  no  man  in  all 
the  world  that  hath  such  enjoyments  of  God,  as  that  man  hath  that 
most  improves  his  graces.  It  is  not  he  that  knows  most,  nor  him  that 
hears  most,  nor  yet  he  that  talks  most,  but  he  that  exercises  grace  most, 
that  hath  most  communion  with  God,  that  hath  the  clearest  visions  of 
God,  that  hath  the  sweetest  discoveries  and  manifestations  of  God. 
Now  certainly  if  they  that  improve  their  graces  most,  have  most  of  God 
here,  then  without  controversy,  they  shall  have  most  of  God  hereafter. 
Doubtless  a  man  may  as  well  plead  for  equal  degrees  of  grace  in  this 
world,  as  for  equal  degrees  of  glory  in  the  other  world. 

Again,  if  those  who  are  most  graceless  and  wicked  shall  be  most  tor- 
mented, then  certainly  they  that  are  most  gracious  shall  be  most  exalted 
in  the  day  of  Christ.  But  the  more  wicked  any  man  is,  the  more  shall 
he  be  tormented  in  the  day  of  vengeance  :  '  Woe  to  you,  Scribes  and 
Pharisees,  hypocrites,  for  ye  shall  receive  the  greater  damnation,'  Mat. 
xxiii.  14,  Luke  xii  47,  48.  The  darkest,  the  lowest,  the  hottest  place 
in  hell  is  provided  for  you  ;  therefore  it  roundly  follows,  that  those  that 
are  most  gracious  shall  at  last  be  most  glorious. 

And  thus  much  for  the  motives  that  tend  to  provoke  all  the  precious 
sons  of  Zion,  to  make  a  thorough  improvement  of  the  gifts  and  graces 
that  the  Lord  hath  bestowed  upon  them. 

I  shall  now  come  to  the  resolution  of  a  weighty  question,  and  so  con- 
clude this  point,  which  I  have  been  the  longer  upon,  by  reason  of  its 
very  great  usefulness  in  these  days,  wherein  men  strive  to  exercise  any- 
thing, yea,  everything,  but  grace  and  holiness,  &c. 

Now  this  question  is  this, 

Quest.  When  may  a  soul  be  said  to  be  excellent  in  grace,  or  to  have 
highly  imjproved  grace  ? 

Now  to  this  question  I  shall  give  these  following  answers  : 

1  The  father  delights  in  all  his  children,  yet  sometimes  he  delights  more  in  one  than 
in  another,  &c. 


14?8  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

[IJ  First,  A  soul  that  is  high  and'  excellent  in  grace,  that  hath 
improved  his  graces  to  a  considerable  height,  will  keep  hwmble  and 
unspotted  under  great  outward  enjoyr)ients.  It  is  said  of  Daniel,  that 
he  had  '  an  excellent  spirit ;'  and  herein  did  his  excellent  spirit  appear, 
in  that  he  was  holy  and  humble  in  heart,  though  high  in  place  and  worth, 
&c.,  Dan.  vi.  3-7.  Daniel  keeps  humble  and  holy  when  he  is  lifted 
high,  yea,  made  the  second  man  in  the  kingdom.  Malice  itself  could 
not  find  anything  against  him,  but  '  in  the  matter  of  his  God.'^  It  is 
much  to  be  very  gracious  when  a  man  is  very  great,  and  to  be  high  in 
holiness  when  advanced  to  high  places.  Usually  men's  blood  rises  with 
their  outward  good.  Certainly,  they  are  worthy  ones,  and  shall  walk 
with  Christ  in  white,  whose  garments  are  not  defiled  with  greatness  or 
riches,  &c..  Rev.  iii.  4. 

[2.]  ISecondly,  They  that  have  highly  improved  their  graces,  will 
comply  luith  those  commands  of  Ood  that  cross  nature,  that  are  con- 
trary to  nature.  And  Tioubtless  that  man  hath  improved  his  graces  to 
a  very  high  rate,  whose  heart  complies  with  those  commands  of  God 
that  are  cross  and  contrary  to  nature  ;  as  for  a  man  to  love  them  that 
loathe  him,  to  bless  them  that  curse  him,  to  pray  for  them  that  perse- 
cute him,  &c..  Mat.  v.  44.  It  is  nothing  to  love  them  that  love  us,  and 
to  speak  well  of  them  that  speak  well  of  us  ;  and  to  do  well,  and  carry 
it  well  towards  them,  that  carry  it  well  towards  us.  Oh,  but  for  a  man 
to  love  those  that  hate  him,  to  be  courteous  to  them  that  are  currish  to 
him,  to  be  sweet  to  them  that  are  bitter  to  him,  &c.,  this  strongly 
demonstrates  a  high  improvement  of  grace.^  Certainly  that  man  is 
very,  very  good,  who  hath  learned  that  holy  lesson  of  *  overcoming  evil 
with  good,'  Rom.  xii.  21.  Such  a  one  was  Stephen,  Acts  vii.  55,  xx.  9. 
He  was  a  man  full  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  that  is,  of  the  gifts  and  graces  of 
the  Holy  Ghost ;  he  was  much  in  the  exercise  of  grace,  he  can  pray  and 
sigh  for  them,  yea,  even  weep  tears  of  blood  for  them,  who  rejoiced  to 
shed  his  blood.  So  did  Christ  weep  over  Jerusalem,  so  did  Titus,  so 
did  Marcellus  over  Syracuse,  so  did  Scipio  over  Carthage  ;  but  they 
shed  tears  for  them,  whose  blood  they  were  to  shed,  but  Christ  shed 
tears  for  them  who  were  to  shed  his  blood.  So  Abraham  *  being  strong 
in  faith  gave  glory  to  God,'  Rom.  iv.  20.  How  ?  Why,  by  complying 
with  those  commands  of  God  that  were  contrary  to  flesh  and  blood,  as 
the  offering  up  of  his  son,  his  only  son,  his  beloved  son,  his  son  of  the 
promise,  and  by  leaving  his  own  country,  and  his  near  and  dear  rela- 
tions, upon  a  word  of  command.  The  commands  of  God  so  change  the 
whole  man  and  make  him  new,  that  you  can  hardly  know  him  to  be 
the  same  one,  saith  one.^  Well,  sirs,  remember  this,  it  is  a  dangerous 
thing  to  neglect  one  of  his  commands,  though  it  be  never  so  cross  to 
flesh  and  blood,  who  by  another  is  able  to  command  you  into  nothing 
or  into  hell.  '  Let  Luther  hate  me,  and  in  his  wrath  call  me  a  thousand 
times  devil,  yet  I  will  love  him,  and  acknowledge  him  to  be  a  most 
precious  servant  of  God,'  saith  Calvin.* 

^  Many  are  seemingly  good  till  they  come  to  be  great,  and  then  they  prove  stark 
naught,  like  the  monk  in  the  fable.     [See  Index  under  *  monkj' — G.] 

^  They  use  to  say,  If  any  man  would  have  Mr  Foxe  do  him  a  good  turn,  let  him  do 
liim  an  injury,  &c.     [The  Martyrologist,  as  before. — G.] 

*  Lactant.  de  falsa  sapient,  lib.  iii.  cap,  27. 

*  One  of  the  precious  m:morabilia  of  Calvin's  Letters,  and  of  every  Life  of  him. — G. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  KICHES  OF  CHRIST.  J  49 

[3.]  Thirdly,  Consider  this,  such  souls  will  follow  the  Lord  fully, 
that  have  made  an  improvement  of  their  graces.  Oh,  this  was  the 
glorious  commendations  of  Caleb  and  Joshua  in  Numb.  xiv.  24,  that 
*  they  followed  the  Lord  fully,'  in  the  face  of  all  difficulties  and  dis- 
couragements. '  They  had  another  spirit  in  them,'  says  the  text,  they 
would  go  up  and  possess  the  land  ;  though  the  walls  were  as  high  as 
heaven,  and  the  sons  of  Anak  were  there,  they  made  no  more  of  it  than 
to  go,  see,  and  conquer.^ 

'  They  followed  the  Lord  fully.'  In  the  Hebrew  it  is,  '  They  fulfilled 
after  me.'  The  Hebrew  word  is  a  metaphor  taken  from  a  ship  under 
sail,  that  is  carried  with  a  strong  wind,  as  fearing  neither  sands,  nor 
rocks,  nor  shelves,  &c.  Such  have  little  if  anything  of  Christ  within, 
who  follow  him  by  halves  or  haltingly. 

I  remember  Cyprian  brings  in  the  devil  triumphing  over  Christ  thus  : 
'  A.S  for  my  followers,  I  never  died  for  them  as  Christ  did  for  his  ;  I 
never  promised  them  so  great  reward  as  Christ  hath  done  to  his,  and 
yet  I  have  more  followers  than  he,  and  they  do  more  for  me  than  his 
do  for  him.'  Oh,  where  is  that  spirit  in  these  days  that  was  upon  those 
worthies  ?  Ps.  xliv.  7,  *  All  this  is  come  upon  us,  yet  have  we  not  for- 
gotten thee,  neither  have  we  dealt  falsely  in  thy  covenant ;  our  heart  is 
not  turned  back,  neither  have  our  steps  declined  from  thy  way, 
though  thou  hast  sore  broken  us  in  the  place  of  dragons,  and  covered 
us  with  the  shadow  of  death.' 

[4.]  Fourthly,  Such  souls  that  have  improved  their  graces  to  a  con- 
siderable height,  will  Uess  God  as  well  when  he  frowns  as  when  he 
smiles. 

As  well  when  he  takes  as  when  he  gives,  when  he  strikes  as  when  he 
strokes,  as  you  may  see  by  comparing  the  scriptures  in  the  margin 
together.2  When  the  Lord  had  stripped  Job  of  all,  and  had  set  him 
naked  upon  the  dunghill,  why  then  says  Job,  '  The  Lord  gives,  and  the 
Lord  taketh  away,  and  blessed  be  the  name  of  the  Lord.'  Where  grace 
is  improved  to  a  considerable  height,  it  will  work  a  soul  to  sit  down 
satisfied  with  the  naked  enjoyment  of  God,  without  other  things  :  John 
xiv.  8,  '  Shew  us  the  Father,  and  it  sufficeth  us.'  The  sight  of  the 
Father,  without  honours,  the  sight  of  the  Father,  without  riches,  the 
sight  of  the  Father,  without  men's  favour,  will  suffice  the  soul.  As 
Jacob  said,  '  It  is  enough  that  Joseph  is  alive  ;'  so  says  the  soul  that  is 
high  in  grace.  It  is  enough  that  Jesus  is  alive,  &c.^ 

[5.]  Fifthly,  Souls  that  have  improved  their  graces  to  a  considerable 
height,  will  be  good  in  bad  times  and  in  bad  places. 

Such  souls  will  bear  up  against  the  stream  of  evil  examples,  in  the 
worst  of  times  and  in  the  worst  of  places.*  Abraham  was  righteous  in 
Chaldea  ;  Lot  was  just  in  Sodom  ;  Daniel  holy  in  Babylon  ;  Job  upright 
and  fearing  God  in  the  land  of  Uz,  which  was  a  profane  and  most 
abominable  superstitious  place  ;  Nehemiah  zealous  in  Damascus.  Oh, 
take  me  a  man  that  hath  improved  his  grace,  and  the  worser  the  times 

'   Veni,  vidi,  vici,  I  came,  I  saw,  I  overcame,  said  that  emperor.    [Julius  Caesar — G.] 
2  Job  i.  21 ;  Lev.  x.  3  ;  2  Sam.  xv.  25,  26  ;  Isa.  Ixiii.  14,  15. 

^  Ghristus  est  mihi  pro  omnibus,  says  a  Christian  ;  as  he  said,  Plato  est  mihi  pro  omni- 
bus. 

*  Though  the  fishes  live  in  the  salt  sea,  yet  they  are  fresh.    So  though  souls  eminently 
racious  live  among  the  wicked,  yet  they  retain  their  spiritualness,  freshness,  and  life. 


150  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

are  the  better  that  man  will  be ;  he  will  bear  up  bravely  against  the 
stream  of  evil  examples,  he  will  be  very  good  when  times  and  all  round 
about  him  are  very  bad. 

Some  say  that  roses  grow  the  sweeter  when  they  are  planted  by 
garlic.  Verily,  Christians  that  have  gloriously  improved  their  graces 
are  like  those  roses,  they  grow  sweeter  and  sweeter,  holier  and  holier, 
by  wicked  men.  The  best  diamonds  shine  most  in  the  dark,  and  so  do 
the  best  Christians  shine  most  in  the  worst  times. 

[6.]  Sixthly,  8uch  turn  their  ^principles  into  practice.  They  turn 
their  speculations  into  power,  their  notions  into  spirit,  their  glorious 
inside  into  a  golden  outside,  Ps.  xlv.  13. 

[7.]  Seventhly,  Such  as  have  made  a  considerable  improvement  of 
their  gifts  and  graces,  have  hearts  a^  large  as  their  heads ;  whereas 
most  men's  heads  have  outgrown  their  hearts,  &c. 

[8.]  Eighthly,  Such  are  always  most  busied  about  the  highest  things, 
viz.,  God,  Christ,  heaven,  kc,  Philip,  iii.;  2  Tim.  iv.  8;  2  Cor.  iv.  18; 
Rom.  viii.  18. 

[9.]  Ninthly,  Such  are  always  a-doing  or  receiving  good.  As  Christ 
went  up  and  down  doing  good.  Mat.  iv.  23 ;  chap.  ix.  35  ;  Mark  vi.  6. 

[]  0.]  Tenthly  and  lastly.  Such  will  mourn  for  wicked  mens  sins  as 
well  a^  their  own.  Oh  the  tears,  the  sighs,  the  groans,  that  others'  sins 
fetch  from  these  men's  hearts  1  Pambus,  in  the  ecclesiastical  history, 
wept  when  he  saw  a  harlot  dressed  with  much  care  and  cost,  partly  to 
see  one  take  so  much  pains  to  go  to  hell,  and  partly  because  he  had  not 
been  so  careful  to  please  God,  as  she  had  been  to  please  a  wanton  lover, 
Jer.  ix.  1,  2;  2  Pet.  ii.  7-9.^ 

I  have  at  this  time  only  given  you  some  short  hints,  whereby  you 
may  know  whether  you  have  made  any  considerable  improvement  of 
that  grace  the  Lord  hath  given  you.  I  do  intend,  by  divine  permission, 
in  a  convenient  time  to  declare  much  more  of  this  to  the  world,  I 
shall  follow  all  what  hath  been  said  with  my  prayers,  that  it  may  help 
on  your  internal  and  eternal  welfare. 

*  The  unsearchable  riches  of  Christ.' — Eph.  iii.  8. 

Now,  the  next  observation  that  we  shall  begin  with  is  this: 

That  the  Lord  Jesus  Chi^t  is  very  rich. 

And  the  second  will  be  this : 

That  the  great  business  and  work  of  the  ministry  is  to  hold  forth  to 
the  people  the  riches  of  Christ. 

We  shall  begin  with  the  first  point  at  this  time,  namely,  that  the  Lord 
Jesus  Christ  is  very  rich. 

For  the  opening  of  this  point,  we  shall  attempt  these  three  things  : 

I.  To  demonstrate  this  to  be  a  truth,  that  the  Lord  Jesus  is  very  rich. 

II.  The  grounds  why  he  is  thus  held  forth  in  the  word,  to  be  one  full 
of  unsearchable  riches. 

III.  To  shew  you  the  excellency  of  the  riches  of  Christ,  above  all 
other  riches  in  the  world. 

IV.  And  then  the  use  of  the  point. 

I.  For  the  first,  that  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ  is  very  rich. 
[1.]  First,  Express  scripture  speaks  out  this  truth.     He  is  rich  in 
>  Socrates  :  H.  E.  iv.  28.— G. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  151 

goodness:  Rom.  ii.  4,  'Or  despisest  thou  the  riches  of  his  goodness,'  his 
'  native  goodness,'  &c.,  that  is  ready  to  be  employed  for  thy  internal  and 
eternal  good,  &c. 

Again,  He  is  rich  in  wisdom  and  knowledge:  Col.  ii.  3,  *In  whom,' 
speaking  of  Christ,  '  are  hid  all  the  treasures  of  wisdom  and  knowledge.' 
Christ  was  content  that  his  riches  should  be  hid  from  the  world ;  there- 
fore do  not  thou  be  angry  that  thine  is  no  more  known  to  the  world. 
What  is  thy  one  mite  to  Christ's  many  millions  1  &c.^ 

Again,  He  is  rich  in  grace:  Eph.  i.  7,  'By  whom  we  have  redemption 
through  his  blood,  the  forgiveness  of  sins,  according  to  the  riches  of  his 
grace/ 

Again,  He  is  rich  in  glory:  Eph.  i.  18,  '  That  ye  may  know  what  is 
the  hope  of  his  calling,  and  what  is  the  riches  of  the  glory  of  his  inheri- 
tance in  the  saints.'  So  in  chap.  iii.  16,  '  That  he  would  grant  unto  you, 
according  to  the  riches  of  his  glory,  to  be  strengthened  with  might  by 
his  Spirit  in  the  inner  man.'  So  in  Philip,  iv.  19,  *  But  my  God  shall 
supply  all  your  need,  according  to  his  riches  in  glory  by  Jesus  Christ.' 
The  riches  of  glory  are  unconceivable  riches.  Search  is  made  through 
all  the  bowels  of  the  earth  for  something  to  shadow  it  by.  The  riches 
of  this  glory  is  fitter  to  be  believed  than  to  be  discoursed  of,  as  some  of 
the  very  heathens  have  acknowledged.^ 

[2.]  But,  secondly,  as  express  scripture  speaks  out  this  truth,  that 
Christ  is  very  rich,  so  there  are  eight  things  more  that  do  with  open 
mouth  speak  out  Christ  to  he  very  rich. 

(1.)  First,  You  may  judge  of  his  riches,  hy  the  dowry  and  portion 
that  his  Father  hath  given  him.  In  Ps.  ii.  7,  '  Thou  art  my  Son,  this 
day  have  I  begotten  thee  ;  ask  of  me,  and  I  will  give  thee  the  heathen 
for  thine  inheritance,  and  the  uttermost  parts  of  the  earth  for  thy  pos- 
session.' He  is  the  heir  of  all  things  ;  all  things  above  and  below,  in 
heaven  and  earth,  are  his.  Heb.  i.  2,  *  God  hath  in  these  last  days 
spoken  to  us  by  his  Son,  whom  he  hath  appointed  heir  of  all  things.' 
Christ  is  the  richest  heir  in  heaven  and  earth.  Men  cry  up  this  man 
to  be  a  good  match  and  that ;  and  why  so,  but  because  they  are  great 
heirs  ?  Ah  !  but  what  are  all  the  great  heirs  of  the  world  to  this  heir, 
the  Lord  Jesus  ?  Joseph  gave  portions  to  all  his  brethren,  but  to  Ben- 
jamin a  portion  five  times  as  good  as  what  he  gave  the  residue.  So  the 
Lord  scatters  portions  among  the  sons  of  men.  He  gives  brass  to  some, 
gold  to  others  ;  temporals  to  some,  spirituals  to  others  ;  but  the  great- 
est portion  of  all  he  hath  given  into  the  hands  of  Christ,  whom  he  hath 
made  the  heir  of  all  things  :  Rev.  xi.  15, '  And  the  seventh  angel  sounded, 
and  there  were  great  voices  in  heaven,  saying,  The  kingdoms  of  this 
world  are  become  the  kingdoms  of  our  Lord,  and  of  his  Christ ;  and  he 
shall  reign  for  ever  and  ever.'  So  in  chap.  xix.  11,  12,  'And  I  saw 
heaven  opened,  and  behold  a  white  horse,  and  he  that  sat  upon  him  was 
called  faithful  and  true,  and  in  righteousness  he  doth  judge  and  make 
war.  His  eyes  were  as  a  flame  of  fire,  and  on  his  head  were  many 
crowns.'     Mark  that !     What  are  princes'  single  crowns,  and  the  pope's 

*  As  man  is  an  epitome  of  the  whole  world,  so  is  Christ  of  all  wisdom  and  knowledge 
&c. 

2  Nee  Christus  nee  caelum  patitur  hyperholem,  neither  Christ  nor  heaven  can  be  hyper- 
bolised.    [^Augmtine. — G."] 


1 52  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8 

triple  crown,  to  Christ's  many  crowns  ?  Certainly  he  must  be  very  rich, 
that  hath  so  many  kingdoms  and  crowns.  Wait  but  a  while,  and  you 
shall  see  these  scriptures  made  good,  &c. 

(2.)  Secondly,  You  may  judge  of  his  riches,  hy  his  keeping  open  house 
for  the  relief  and  supply  of  all  created  creatures,  both  in  heaven  and 
in  earth. 

You  look  upon  those  as  very  rich  that  keep  open  house  for  all  comers 
and  goers;  why,  such  a  one  is  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ ;  he  keeps  open 
house  for  all  comers  and  goers,  for  all  created  creatures  both  in  heaven 
and  earth.  Ps.  civ.  24,  '  The  earth  is  full  of  thy  riches,  so  is  the  great 
and  wide  sea,  where  are  things  creeping  innumerable,  both  small  and 
great/  'He  opens  his  hand,  and  he  satisfies  every  living  creature,' 
says  the  Psalmist,  Ps.  cxlv.  16.  So  Isa.  Iv.  1,  'Ho,  every  one  that 
thirsteth,  let  him  come  and  buy  wine  and  milk,  without  money  and 
without  price.  Wherefore  dost  thou  lay  out  thy  money  for  that  which 
is  not  bread,  and  thy  strength  for  that  which  doth  not  profit  ?'i  All 
creatures,  high  and  low,  honourable  and  base,  noble  and  ignoble,  blessed 
and  cursed,  are  fed  at  tbe  cost  and  charge  of  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ. 
They  are  all  fed  at  his  table,  and  maintained  by  what  comes  out  of 
his  treasury,  his  purse.  All  angels  and  saints  above,  and  all  saints  and 
sinners  below,  are  beholden  to  Christ  for  what  they  enjoy.  Oh  !  the 
multitudes,  the  numberless  number  of  those  that  live  upon  the  cost  and 
charge  of  Christ.  Can  you  number  the  stars  of  heaven  ?  can  you  num- 
ber the  sands  upon  the  sea-shore  ?  then  may  you  number  the  multitudes, 
the  millions  of  angels  and  men  that  are  maintained  upon  the  cost  and 
charge  of  the  Lord  Jesus.  In  Col.  i.  16,  17,  *  For  by  him  were  all  things 
created  that  are  in  heaven  and  that  are  in  earth,  visible  and  invisible, 
whether  they  be  thrones  or  dominions,  or  principalities,  or  powers,  all 
things  were  created  by  him,  and  for  him.  And  he  is  before  all  things, 
and  by  him  all  things  consist.' 

(3.)  Thirdly,  You  may  judge  of  the  riches  of  Christ  hy  the  time  that 
he  hath  fed  and  clothed,  cherished  and  maintained,  so  many  innu- 
merable millions  of  angels  and  men. 

He  hath  maintained  his  court  above  and  below,  upon  his  own  cost 
and  charge,  for  almost  six  thousand  years.  Oh,  to  keep  such  a  multi- 
tude, if  it  were  but  for  a  day,  would  speak  him  out  to  be  richer  than 
all  the  princes  in  the  world  ;  but  to  keep  so  many  millions,  and  to  keep 
them  so  long,  what  doth  this  speak  out,  but  that  Christ  is  infinitely 
rich,  rich  in  goodness  and  mercy  ?  It  would  beggar  all  the  princes  on 
earth,  to  keep  but  one  day  the  least  part  of  those  that  Christ  maintains 
every  day,  &c. 

(4.)  But,  fourthly,  you  may  judge  of  the  riches  of  Christ  by  this,  that 
he  doth  not  only  enrich  all  the  saints,  but  all  of  the  saints. 

That  is,  he  enriches  all  the  faculties  of  their  souls  ;  he  enriches  their 
understandings  with  glorious  light  ;  their  consciences  with  quickness, 
pureness,  tenderness  and  quietness;  and  their  wills  with  holy  intentions 
and  heavenly  resolutions  ;  and  their  affections  of  love,  joy,  fear,  &c.,  with 
life,^  heat,  and  warmth,  and  with  the  beauty  and  glory  of  the  most  soul- 
enriching,  soul-delighting,  soul-ravishing,  and  soul-contenting  objects 

^  Crassus  was  so  rich,  that  he  maintained  a  whole  army  with  his  own  revenues.     But 
what  is  this  to  what  Jesus  doth  ?  &c.    [As  before.     See  Index,  sub  nomine.— G.] 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  153 

&c.  All  saints'  experiences  seal  to  this  truth,  and  therefore  a  touch  shall 
suffice,  &c. 

(5.)  Fifthly,  Judge  of  the  riches  of  Christ  by  this,  that  notwith- 
standing all  the  vast  expense  and  charge  that  he  is  at,  and  hath  been 
at  for  so  many  millions  of  thousands,  and  that  for  near  six  thousand 
years,  yet  he  is  never  the  poorer  ;  his  purse  is  never  the  emptier. 

There  is  still  in  Christ  a  fulness  of  abundance,  and  a  fulness  of  redun- 
dance, notwithstanding  all  that  he  hath  expended.  It  were  blasphemy 
to  think  that  Christ  should  be  a  penny  the  poorer  by  all  that  he  hath 
laid  out  for  the  relief  of  all  those  that  have  their  dependence  upon  him. 
Col.  i.  19,  '  It  pleased  the  Father  that  in  him  should  all  fulness  dwell.' 
Not  stay  or  abide  a  night  or  a  day  and  away,  but  should  dwell.  The  sun 
hath  not  the  less  light  for  filling  the  stars  with  light.  A  fountain  hath 
not  the  less  for  filling  the  lesser  vessels.  There  is  in  Christ  plenitudo 
fontis,  the  fulness  of  a  fountain.  The  overflowing  fountain  pours  out 
water  abundantly,  and  yet  remains  full.  Why,  the  Lord  Jesus  is  such 
an  overflowing  fountain  ;  he  fills  all,  and  yet  remains  full.  Christ  hath 
the  greatest  worth  and  wealth  in  him.  As  the  worth  and  value  of 
many  pieces  of  silver  is  in  one  piece  of  gold,  so  all  the  petty  excellencies 
scattered  abroad  in  the  creature  are  united  to  Christ ;  yea,  all  the  whole 
volume  of  perfections  which  is  spread  through  heaven  and  earth,  is 
epitomised  in  him,  &c.^ 

(6.)  Sixthly,  The  Lord  Jesus  is  generally  rich,  and  that  speaks  him 
out  to  be  rich  indeed.  He  is  generally  rich.  You  have  few  per- 
sons that  are  generally  rich.  That  is  a  rich  man  indeed,  that  is 
generally  rich ;  that  is,  that  is  rich  in  money  and  rich  in  land,  and 
lich  in  commodities,  and  rich  in  jewels,  &c.  Now  the  Lord  Jesus 
Christ  is  one  that  is  generally  rich  ;  he  is  rich  in  all  spirituals ; 
he  is  rich  in  goodness,  rich  in  wisdom  and  knowledge  ;  he  is  rich  in 
grace,  and  rich  in  glory.^  Yea,  he  is  generally  rich  in  respect  of  tem- 
porals. '  He  is  the  heir  of  all  things.'  He  is  the  heir  of  all  the  gold  in 
the  world,  and  of  all  the  silver,  and  of  all  the  jewels,  and  of  all  the  land, 
and  of  all  the  cattle  in  the  world,  as  you  may  see  by  comparing  some 
scriptures  together.  Hos.  ii.  5,  8,  9,  '  For  their  mother  hath  played  the 
harlot,  she  that  conceived  them  hath  done  shamefully ;  for  she  said,  I 
will  go  after  my  lovers  that  gave  me  my  bread  and  my  water,  and  my 
wool,  and  my  flax,  and  my  oil,  and  my  drink.'  But  mark  what  follows  : 
verses  8,  9,  *  For  she  did  not  know  that  I  gave  her  corn,  and  wine,  and 
oil,  and  multiplied  her  silver  and  gold,  which  they  prepared  for  Baal; 
therefore  will  I  return,  and  take  away  my  corn  in  the  time  thereof,  and 
my  wine  in  the  season  thereof,  and  will  recover  my  wool  and  ray  flax, 
given  to  cover  her  nakedness.'  So  in  Ps.  xxiv.  1,  '  The  earth  is  the 
Lord's,  and  the  fulness  thereof,  the  round  world,  and  all  that  dwell 
therein.'  All  others  are  either  usurpers  or  stewards ;  it  is  the  Lord 
Jesus  that  is  the  great  landlord  of  heaven  and  earth.  So  in  Ps.  I.  8-10, 
*  I  will  not  reprove  thee  for  thy  sacrifices,  or  thy  burnt-offerings  ;  I  will 
take  no  bullock  out  of  thy  house,  nor  he-goats  out  of  thy  folds  :  for  every 

*  They  say  it  is  true  of  the  oil  at  Rhemes  that,  though  it  be  continually  spent  in  the 
inauguration  of  their  kings  of  France,  yet  it  never  wastes.  I  am  sure,  though  all  creatures 
spend  continually,  on  Christ's  stock,  yet  it  never  wasteth. 

2  The  philosopher  once  said,  Solus  sapiens  dives,  only  the  wise  man  is  the  rich  man,  &c. 


154)  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

beast  of  the  forest  is  mine,  and  the  cattle  upon  a  thousand  hills.  I 
know  all  the  fowls  of  the  mountains,  and  the  wild  beasts  of  the  field 
are  mine.  If  I  were  hungry,  I  would  not  tell  thee;  for  the  world  is  mine, 
and  the  fulness  thereof     It  is  all  mine,  saith  the  Lord. 

Thus  you  see  that  the  Lord  is  generally  rich,  rich  in  houses,  in  lands, 
in  gold,  in  silver,  in  cattle,  &c.,  in  all  temporals  as  well  as  in  spirituals  ; 
but  where  will  you  find  a  man  that  is  generally  rich  either  in  spirituals 
or  temporals  ?  It  is  true,  you  may  find  one  Christian  rich  in  one 
grace,  and  another  Christian  rich  in  another ;  but  where  will  you  find  a 
Christian  that  is  generally  rich,  that  is  rich  in  every  grace  :  that  is 
rich  in  knowledge,  in  faith,  in  love,  in  wisdom,  in  humility,  in  meek- 
ness, in  patience,  in  self-denial  ?  Abraham  was  rich  in  faith,  and 
Moses  was  rich  in  meekness,  and  Job  was  rich  in  patience,  and  Joshua 
was  rich  in  courage,  and  David  was  rich  in  uprightness,  &c.  But  where 
will  you  find  a  saint  that  is  rich  in  all  these  graces  ?  Or  where  will 
you  find  a  man  that  is  generally  rich,  in  respect  of  temporals,  as  to  be 
rich  in  lands,  and  rich  in  moneys,  and  rich  in  wares,  and  rich  in  jewels, 
&c.  But  now  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ  is  generally  rich,  both  in  respect 
of  spirituals  and  temporals.  *  In  having  nothing  I  have  all  things,'  saith 
one,  *  because  I  have  Christ ;  having  therefore  all  things  in  him,  I  seek 
no  other  reward,  for  he  is  the  universal  reward,'^  &c. 

(7.)  Seventhly,  You  may  judge  of  the  riches  of  Christ,  hy  the  tribute 
and  rent  that  is  due  to  him. 

He  is  the  great  landlord  and  owner  of  all  that  angels  and  men  pos- 
sess above  and  below.^  All  created  creatures  are  but  tenants-at-will  to 
this  rich  landlord,  the  Lord  Jesus.  He  puts  out  and  puts  in  as  he 
pleases  ;  he  lifts  up  one,  and  casts  down  another ;  he  throws  down  the 
mighty,  and  sets  up  the  needy,  according  to  the  pleasure  of  his  own 
will.  '  Whom  he  will  he  destroys,  and  whom  he  will  he  saves  alive,' 
Ps.  cxiii.  7  ;  cxlviii.  14  ;  Luke  i.  52.  Whom  he  will  he  binds,  and 
whom  he  will  he  sets  at  liberty  ;  whom  he  will  he  exalts,  and  whom  he 
will  he  abases ;  whom  he  will  he  makes  happy,  and  whom  he  will  he 
makes  miserable,  &c.  The  psalmist,  Ps.  cxlviii.,  upon  this  account,  calls 
upon  all  celestial  and  terrestrial  creatures,  to  pay  their  tribute  of  praise 
to  the  Lord.  He  hath  given  them  all  their  beings,  and  he  maintains 
them  all  in  the  beings  that  he  hath  given  them. 

The  ancient  Hebrews,  as  Josephus  relates,  set  marks  and  tokens  some- 
times on  their  arms,  sometimes  at  their  gates,  to  declare  to  all  the  world 
the  tribute  and  praise  that  was  due  to  the  Lord,  for  all  his  benefits  and 
favours  shewed  unto  them.  Bernard  saith, '  We  must  imitate  the  birds, 
who  morning  and  evening,  at  the  rising  and  setting  of  the  sun,  omit 
not  to  pay  the  debt  of  praise  that  is  due  to  their  creator.'^ 

(8.)  Eighthly  and  lastly,  judge  of  the  riches  of  Christ  hy,  the  multi- 
plicity and  variety  of  temporal  and  spiritual  gifts  and  rewards  that 
he  scatters  among  the  children  of  men} 

*  Gregory  the  Great  was  wont  to  say  that  he  was  poor  whose  soul  was  void  of  grace, 
not  whose  coffers  were  empty  of  money. 

^  Quicquid  es,  debes  creanti,  quicquid  petis,  debes  redimenti. — Bernard. 
3  Serm.  on  Cantic. — G. 

*  Christ  saith  to  the  believer,  as  the  king  of  Israel  said  to  the  king  of  Syria,  '  I  am 
thine,  and  all  that  I  have,'  1  Kings  xx.  4.  This  is  aluearium  divini  meliis,  an  hive  full  of 
divine  comfort. 


EpH.  III.  8,]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  1 55 

He  gives  honours  to  thousands,  and  riches  to  thousands,  and  peace 
to  thousands,  and  pardon  to  thousands,  and  the  joys  and  comforts  of 
the  Holy  Ghost  to  thousands.  There  is  not  a  moment  that  passes 
over  our  head,  but  he  is  a-scattering  of  jewels  up  and  down  the 
world ;  he  throws  some  into  one  bosom,  and  others  into  others, 
but  the  best  into  the  bosom  of  his  saints.  Oh,  the  abundance  of 
peace,  the  abundance  of  joy  and  comfort !  Oh,  the  fear,  the  faith,  the 
love,  the  kindness,  the  goodness  and  sweetness,  that  the  Lord  Jesus 
Christ  scatters  up  and  down  among  the  precious  sons  and  daughters  of 
Zion,  besides  all  temporal  favours.  There  is  not  a  saint  that  receives 
so  much  as  a  cup  of  cold  water,  but  Christ  rewards  it  abundantly  into 
the  bosom  of  the  giver,  Mat.  x.  42.  By  all  which  you  may  well  judge, 
that  certainly  the  Lord  Jesus  is  very  rich,  for  if  he  were  not,  he  could 
never  hold  out  in  scattering  of  rich  rewards  among  so  many  millions, 
and  for  so  many  thousand  years,  as  he  hath  done.^ 

And  so  much  for  the  proof  of  the  point,  viz.,  that  the  Lord  Jesus  is 
very  rich. 

We  come  now  in  the  second  place  to  discover  to  you, 

II.  The  grounds  and  reasons  why  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ  is  held  forth 
in  the  word  to  be  so  very  rich. 

And  they  are  these  that  follow  : 

[].]  First,  To  encourage  poor  sinners  to  look  after,  and  to  be  willing 
to  match,  with  him.'^ 

Poverty  hinders  many  a  match.  The  Lord  did  foresee  from  eternity, 
that  fallen  man  would  never  look  after  Christ,  if  there  were  not  some- 
thing to  be  gotten  by  Christ.  The  Lord  hath  therefore  in  his  wisdom 
and  goodness  to  fallen  man,  thus  presented  him  as  one  exceeding  rich, 
that  so  poor  sinners  might  fall  in  love  with  him,  and  be  willing  to  give 
up  themselves  to  him:  Prov.  viii.  34,  35,  'Blessed  is  the  man  that 
heareth  me,  watching  daily  at  my  gates,  waiting  at  the  posts  of  my 
doors  ;'  as  princes'  guards  do  at  princes'  gates  and  doors.  Now,  the 
arguments  to  draw  out  the  soul  thus  to  wait  upon  the  Lord,  lie  in  the 
next  words,  *  For  whoso  findeth  me  findeth  life,  and  shall  obtain  favour 
of  the  Lord.'  The  Hebrew  runs  thus,  '  For  finding  me  he  shall  find 
lives,  and  shall  draw  forth  the  favour  of  the  Lord.'  Divine  favour  is 
as  it  were  a  jewel  locked  up;  ay,  but  by  finding  Christ,  by  getting 
Christ,  the  soul  gets  this  jewel,  that  is  more  worth  than  a  world  ;  yea, 
by  gaining  him,  the  soul  gains  lives ;  to  wit,  a  life  of  grace,  and  a  life 
of  glory,  and  what  would  the  soul  have  more  ? 

A  second  ground  of  this  is, 

[2.]  Because  he  is  ordained  by  the  Father  to  convey  all  riches  of 
grace  to  his  chosen  and  beloved  ones. 

John  i.  16,  'Of  his  fulness  we  all  receive  grace  for  grace;'  and  this 
we  receive  by  divine  ordination.     John  vi.   27,  *  Labour  not,'  saith 

*  The  Duke  of  Burgundy  gave  a  poor  man  a  great  reward  for  offering  him  a  rape  root, 
being  the  best  present  the  poor  man  had.  And  surely  so  will  God  bountifully  reward  the 
least  favours  shewed  to  his. 

2  Abraham's  servant,  to  win  over  the  heart  of  Rebekah  to  Isaac,  brings  forth  jewels  of 
silver  and  jewels  of  gold,  and  acquaints  her  what  a  rich  match  she  should  have  by  match- 
ing with  Isaac,  and  so  overcame  her,  Gen.  xxiv.  And  so  does  God  deal  with  poor  sinners, 
&c. 


1 56  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

Christ,  '  for  the  meat  that  perisheth,  but  for  that  which  endureth  to 
everlasting  life,  which  the  Son  of  man  shall  give  unto  you :  for  him 
hath  God  the  Father  sealed.'  God  the  Father  hath  sealed  Christ  ;^  he 
hath  designed  Christ,  he  hath  set  Christ  apart  for  this  very  work,  that 
he  might  give  grace  unto  us.  God  hath  ordained  to  convey  all  fulness 
of  light  to  the  air  by  the  sun,  and  therefore  hath  put  a  greater  fulness 
of  light  into  the  sun.  God  hath  ordained  all  fulness  of  nourishment  to 
the  branches  by  the  roots,  and  therefore  hath  put  a  fulness  of  juice  into 
the  roots.  So  the  Lord  hath  ordained  that  all  the  riches  of  grace,  of 
peace,  of  glory,  &c.,  that  believers  shall  enjoy  here  and  in  heaven,  they 
shall  have  from  the  Sun  of  righteousness,  from  this  blessed  root  the 
Lord  Jesus  Christ ;  and  therefore  the  Father  hath  filled  this  Sun  with 
light,  this  root  with  heavenly  juice,  because  he  is  by  divine  ordination 
to  convey  all  spiritual  and  glorious  riches  into  the  hearts  of  his  chosen 
and  beloved  ones,  John  xv.  21,  22. 

A  third  ground  is, 

[8.]  To  take  away  all  excuse  from  ungodly  and  wicked  men,  and 
that  they  m.ay  be  found  speechless  in  the  day  of  vengeance,  when  the 
Lord  shall  come  to  reckon  with  them.^ . 

Ah,  sinners  !  how  will  you  that  have  turned  your  backs  upon  Christ, 
who  is  thus  rich,  be  able  to  answer  it  in  the  day  when  God  shall 
reason  the  case  with  you  ?  When  God  shall  say.  Sinners,  hath  it  not 
been  often  told  you  that  Christ  is  rich  in  mercy,  and  rich  in  goodness, 
and  rich  in  grace,  rich  in  pardons,  rich  in  loves,  and  rich  in  glory,  rich 
in  spirituals,  rich  in  temporals,  and  rich  in  eternals,  and  yet  you  have 
slighted  this  Christ,  you  have  turned  your  backs  upon  this  Christ,  you 
have  preferred  your  lusts,  and  the  world,  and  the  service  of  the  devil, 
above  this  Christ.  Oh !  how  dumb,  how  speechless  will  sinners  be, 
when  the  Lord  shall  thus  plead  with  them.  Oh !  how  will  their 
countenances  be  changed,  their  thoughts  troubled,  and  their  joints 
loosed,  their  consciences  enraged,  and  their  souls  terrified,  when  they 
shall  see  what  a  rich  match  they  have  refused,  and  thereupon  how 
justly  they  are  for  ever  accursed,  &c. 

[4.]  Lastly,  It  is  upon  this  account. 

That  he  may  be  a  complete  Redeemer  to  us,  and  that  nothing  onay 
hinder  our  souls  closing  with  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ. 

We  stand  in  need  of  one  that  is  rich ;  rich  in  grace  to  pardon  us, 
rich  in  power  to  support  us,  and  rich  in  goodness  to  relieve  us,  and  rich 
in  glory  to  crown  us.  There  is  none  but  such  a  Christ  can  serve  our 
turns.  We  stand  in  need  of  one  that  is  rich,  that  is  generally  rich, 
one  that  is  rich  in  money  to  pay  all  our  debts.  We  have  run  much 
upon  the  score  with  God,  and  none  can  pay  this  score  but  Christ.  Our 
sins  are  debts  that  none  can  pay  but  Christ.  It  is  not  our  tears  but 
his  blood,  it  is  not  our  sighs  but  his  sufferings,  that  can  satisfy  for  our 
sins.  We  are  much  in  debt  to  God  for  the  ground  we  tread  on,  the  air 
we  breathe  in,  the  beds  we  lie  on,  the  bread  we  eat,  the  clothes  we 
wear,  &c. ;  and  none  can  pay  this  debt  but  Christ.     Angels  and  saints 

'  Sealed,  that  is,  made  his  commission  authentical,  as  men  do  their  deeds  by  their  seal. 

2  Sirens  are  said  to  sing  curiously  while  they  live,  but  to  roar  horribly  when  they  die. 
So  will  all  those  that  have  rejected  so  rich  a  Jesus  as  hath  been  tendered  to  them,  when 
the  Lord  Jesus  shall  plead  with  them,  &c. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  157 

may  pity  us,  but  they  cannot  discharge  the  least  debt  for  us,  &c. 
Christ  must  pay  all,  or  we  are  prisoners  for  ever,  &c.^  We  stand  in 
need  of  one  that  is  rich  in  goodness.  We  are  a  needy  people,  and  are 
still  in  want.  Christ  must  be  still  a-giving,  or  we  shall  be  still  a-lan- 
guishing.  If  he  shut  his  hand,  we  perish  and  ^return  to  dust.  Our 
temporal  wants  are  many,  our  spiritual  wants  are  more,  and  if  Christ 
do  not  supply  them,  who  will  ?  who  can  ?  Nay,  our  wants  are  so  many 
and  so  great,  that  Christ  himself  could  not  supply  them,  were  he  not 
very,  very  rich. 

And  thus  I  have  given  you  a  brief  account  of  the  reasons  of  the  point, 
why  the  Lord  Jesus  is  held  forth  by  the  Scripture  to  be  so  very  rich. 

We  shall  now  come  to  the  third  thing  proposed,  and  that  is, 

III.  The  excellency  of  the  riches  of  Christ  above  all  other  riches  in 
the  world. 

I  shall  briefly  run  over  this  third  branch,  and  so  come  to  the  applica- 
tion, which  is  most  in  my  eye,  and  upon  my  heart. 

[1.]  First,  The  riches  of  Christ  are  incomparable  riches  :  Pro  v.  iii. 
13-15,  'Happy  is  the  man  that  findeth  Wisdom,'  that  is,  the  Lord  Jesus 
Christ,  'and  the  man  that  getteth  understanding;  for  the  merchandise  of 
it  is  better  than  the  merchandise  of  silver,  and  the  gain  thereof  than  fine 
gold.  She  is  more  precious  than  rubies :  and  all  the  things  thou  canst 
desire  are  not  to  be  compared  unto  her.'  One  grain  of  grace  is  far  be- 
yond all  the  gold  of  Ophir  and  all  the  silver  of  the  Indies,  which  are 
but  the  guts  and  garbage  of  the  earth.  We  may  say  of  the  riches  of 
this  world,  compared  with  the  riches  of  Christ,  as  Gideon  sometime 
said  of  the  vintage  of  Abiezer,  '  The  gleanings  of  Ephraim  are  better 
than  the  vintage  of  Abiezer,'  So  the  gleanings,  the  smallest  gatherings 
of  the  riches  of  Christ,  are  far  better,  more  excellent,  more  satisfying, 
more  contenting,  more  ravishing  than  all  the  riches  of  this  world.^ 

*  The  whole  Turkish  empire,'  saith  Luther,  *  is  but  a  crust  that  God 
throws  to  a  dog.'  The  wise  merchant.  Mat.  xiii.  44,  45,  parts  with  all 
to  gain  this  pearl  of  price  ;  the  truth  is,  other  riches  are  but  a  burden. 
Gen.  xiii.  2,  '  Abraham  was  very  rich  in  cattle,  in  silver,  and  in  gold. 
The  Hebrew  word  chabbedh  is,  '  He  was  very  heavy  in  cattle,  in  silver, 
and  in  gold ' ;  to  signify,  that  riches  are  but  heavy  burdens.  A  little 
will  serve  nature,  less  will  serve  grace,  but  nothing  will  serve  men's 
lusts. 

Pheraulus,  a  poor  man,  on  whom  Cyrus  bestowed  so  much,  that  he 
knew  not  what  to  do  with  his  riches,  being  wearied  out  with  care  in 
keeping  of  them,  he  desired  rather  to  live  quietly,  though  poor,  as  he 
had  done  before,  than  to  possess  all  those  riches  with  discontent ;  there- 
fore he  gave  away  all  his  wealth,  desiring  only  to  enjoy  so  much  as 
might  supply  his  necessities.'  Let  worldly  professors  think  seriously 
of  this  story  and  blush,  &c. 

[2  ]  Secondly,  The  riches  of  Christ  are  inexhaustible  riches.  As  I 
have  shewed  you,  Christ  can  never  be  drawn  dry.* 

1  We  may  say  of  Christ,  as  writers  say  of  the  jasper,  it  is  easier  to  admire  than  declare 
it,  and  far  more  easier  to  say  what  he  is  not  than  what  he  is. 

2  Riches  are  called  thick  clay,  Hab.  ii.  6,  which  will  sooner  break  the  back  than 
lighten  the  heart,  &c.  ^  Xenophon,  Cyrop.  ii.  8,  sec.  7,  and  viii.  3.— G. 

*  Earthly  riches  are  true  gardens  of  Adonis,  where  we  can  gather  nothing  but  trivial 


158  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

The  Spanish  ambassador  coming  to  see  the  treasury  of  St  Mark,  in 
Venice,  which  is  cried  up  throughout  the  world,  fell  a-groping  whether 
it  had  any  bottom,  and  being  asked  why,  answered,  '  In  this  among 
other  things,,  my  gi-eat  master's  treasure  differs  from  yours,  in  that  his 
hath  no  bottom,  as  I  find  yours  to  have,'  alluding  to  the  mines  of  Mexico 
and  Potosi,  &c.  Certainly  Christ's  treasures  have  no  bottom,  all  his 
bags  are  bottomless ;  but  Scripture,  history,  and  experience,  do  abund- 
antly testify  that  men's  bags,  purses,  coffers,  and  mines,  may  be  ex- 
hausted or  drawn  dry,  but  Christ's  can  never.  Millions  of  thousands 
live  upon  Christ,  and  he  feels  it  not ;  his  purse  is  always  full,  though 
he  be  always  giving,.  &c. 

[3.]  Thirdly,  The  riches  of  Christ  are  soul-satisfying  riches.  Oh 
those  riches  of  grace  ^d  goodness  that  be  in  Christ,  how  do  they  satisfy 
the  souls  of  sinners !  A  pardon  doth  not  more  satisfy  a  condemned 
man,  nor  bread  the  hungry  man,  nor  drink  the  thirsty  man,  nor  clothes 
the  naked  man,  nor  health  the  sick  man,  than  the  riches  of  Christ  do 
satisfy  the  gracious  man.  John  iv.  13,  14,  'Whosoever  drinketh  of 
this  water  shall  thirst  again  :  but  whosoever  drinketh  of  the  water  that 
I  shall  give  him  shall  never  thirst ;  but  the  water  that  I  shall  give  him 
shall  be  in  him  a  well  of  living  water  springing  up  to  everlasting 
life.'  Grace  is  a  perpetual  -flowing  fountain.  Grace  is  compared  to 
water.  Water  serves  to  cool  men  when  they  are  in  a  burning  heat,  so 
grace  cools  the  soul  when  it  hath  been  scorched  and  burned  up  under 
the  sense  of  divine  wrath  and  displeasure.  Water  is  cleansing,  so  is 
grace ;  water  is  fructifying,^  so  is  grace ;  and  water  is  satisfying,  it 
satisfies  the  thirsty,  and  so  doth  grace.  '  Shew  us  the  Father,  and  it 
sufficeth  us,'  John  xiv.  8.  But  now  earthly  riches  can  never  satisfy 
the  soul ;  but  as  they  said  once  of  Alexander,  '  that  had  he  a  body 
suitable  to  his  mind,  he  would  set  one  foot  upon  sea,  and  the  other  upon 
land ; '  he  would  reach  the  east  with  one  hand,^  and  the  west  with  the 
other.  And  doubtless  the  same  frame  of  spirit  is  to  be  found  in  all  the 
sons  of  Adam.  In  Eccles.  v.  10,  '  He  that  loves  silver  shall  not  be 
satisfied  with  silver ;  nor  he  that  loveth  abundance  with  increase.  This 
is  also  vanity.'  If  a  man  be  hungry,  silver  cannot  feed  him  ;  if  naked, 
it  cannot  clothe  him ;  if  cold,  it  cannot  warm  him  ;  if  sick,  it  cannot 
recover  him,  much  less  then  is  it  able  to  satisfy  him.  Oh !  but  the 
riches  of  Christ  are  soul-satisfying  riches.  A  soul  rich  in  spirituals,  rich 
in  eternals,  says,  I  have  enough,  though  I  have  not  this  and  that  tem- 
poral good,  &c.^ 

[4.]  Fourthly,  The  riches  of  Christ  aite  harmless  riches.  They  are 
riches  that  will  not  hurt  the  soul,  that  wjll  not  harm  the  soul.  Where 
is  there  a  soul  to  be  found  in  all  the  world  that  was  ever  made  worse  by 
spiritual  riches  ?  Oh  but  earthly  riches  have  cast  down  many,  they  have 
slain  many.   If  poverty,  with  Saul,  hath  killed  her  thousands,  riches,  with 

flowers  Burrounded  with  many  briars,  &c.  '  Hast  thou  entered  into  the  treasures  of  the 
snow  ?'  saith  God  to  Job.  Now,  Gregory  [of  Nyssa]  saith  that  the  treasures  of  the  snow 
are  worldly  riches,  which  men  rake  together  as  children  do  snow,  which  the  next  shower 
washeth  away,  and  leaves  nothing  in  the  room  but  dirt ;  and  can  dirt  satisfy  ?  Surely 
no.     No  more  can  worldly  riches. 

*  Anima  raiionalis  cceteris  omnibus  occupari potest,  impleri  nan  potest,  the  reasonable  soul 
may  be  busied  about  other  things,  but  it  cannot  be  filled  with  them,  &c. — Bernard. 
[Sermons  on  Canticles,  as  before. — G.] 


EpH.  hi.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  159 

David,  hath  killed  her  ten  thousands.^     Eccles.  v.  13,  'There  is  a  sore 
evil  which  I  have  seen  under  the  sun,  namely,  riches  kept  for  the 
owners  thereof  to  their  hurt.'     Earthly  riches  are  called  thorns,  and  well 
they  may ;  for  as  thorns,  they  pierce  both  head  and  heart ;  the  head 
with  cares  in  getting  them,  and  the  heart  with  grief  in  parting  with 
them.     Oh  the  souls  that  riches  have  pierced  through  and  through  with 
many  sorrows  !     Oh  the  minds  that  riches  have  blinded  !     Oh  the  hearts 
that  riches  have  hardened !     Oh  the  consciences  that  riches  have  be- 
numbed !     Oh  the  wills  that  riches  have  perverted  !     Oh  the  afifections 
that  riches  have  disordered  and  destroyed  !    Earthly  riches  are  very  vex- 
ing, very  defiling,  very  dividing,  and  to  multitudes  prove  very  ruining.^ 
It  was  a  wise  and  Christian  speech  of  Charles  the  Fifth  to  the  Duke 
of  Venice,  who,   when  he  had  shewed  him  the  glory  of  his  princely 
palace  and  earthly  paradise,  instead  of  admiring  it,  or  him  for  it,  only 
returned  him  this  grave  and  serious  memento,  Hcec  sunt  qaoe  faciunt 
invHos  mori,  these  are  the  things  which  make  us  unwilling  to  die,  &c.^ 
[5.]  Fifthly^  The  riches  of  Christ  are  unsearchable  riches.     This  is 
plain  in  the  text,  '  Unto  me,  who  am  less  than  the  least  of  all  saints,  is 
this  grace  given,  that  I  should  preach  among  the  Gentiles  the  unsearch- 
able riches  of  Christ.'     There  are  riches  of  justification,  riches  of  sancti- 
fication,  riches  of  consolation,  and  riches  erf  glorification  in  Christ.     All 
the  riches  of  Christ  are  unsearchable  riches.     A  saint  with  all  the  light 
that  he  hath  from  the  Spirit  of  Christ,  is  not  able  to  search  to  the 
bottom  of  these  riches.     Nay,  suppose  that  all  the  perfections  of  angels 
and  saints  in  a  glorified  estate  should  meet  in  one  noble  breast,  yet  all 
those  perfections  could  not  enable  that  glorious  glorified  creature  for  to 
search  to  the  bottom  of  Christ's  unsearchable  riches.     Doubtless  when 
believers  come  to  heaven,  when  they  shall  see  God  face  to  face,  when 
they  shall  know  as  they  are  known,  when  they  shall  be  filled  with  the 
fulness  of  God,  even  then  they  will  sweetly  sing  this  soug,  *  Oh  the 
height,  the  depth,  the  length,  the  breadth  of  the  unsearchable  riches  of 
Christ ! '     As  there  is  no  Christ  to  this  Christ,  so  there  are  no  riches  to 
his  riches,  &c.     Oh  but  such  are  not  the  riches  of  this  world,  they  may 
be  reckoned,  they  may  be  fathomed,  &c.* 

[6.]  Sixthly,  The  riches  of  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ  are  permanent  and 
abiding  riches  ;  they  are  lasting,  they  are  durable  riches.  That  is  a 
choice  scripture.  Pro  v.  viii.  18,  'Riches  and  honour  are  with  me,  yea, 
durable  riches  and  righteousness.'  The  Hebrew  word  that  is  rendered 
*  durable  riches '  signifies  old  riches.  All  other  riches  are  but  new, 
they  are  but  of  yesterday  as  it  were.  Oh  !  but  with  me  are  old  riches, 
durable  riches.  All  other  riches,  in  respect  of  their  fickleness,  are  as  a 
shadow,  a  bird,  a  ship,  an  arrow,  a  dream,  a  post,  &c.*    This  Valerian, 

*  Da  Domine  ut  sic  possideamus  temporalia  ui  non  perdamus  cetema. — Bernard. 

*  Some  say  where  gold  grows,  no  plant  will  prosper ;  so  no  truth,  no  good,  &c.,  will 
have  any  heart-room  where  the  love  of  money  bears  the  bell,  &c. 

3  By  a  long  time  thus  anticipating  a  saying  ascribed  to  Dr  Johnson  and  many  others. 
— G. 

<  The  philosophers  seeing  to  the  very  bottom  of  earthly  riches,  contemned  them,  and 
preferred  a  contemplative  life  above  them.  Omnia  mea  mecum  porta,  said  Bias,  one  of  the 
seven  wise  men  of  Greece,  &c. 

5  It  is  reported  of  one  Myrogenes,  when  great  gifts  were  sent  him,  he  sent  them  back, 
saying,  I  only  desire  this  one  thing  at  your  master's  hands,  to  pray  for  me,  that  I  may 
be  saved  for  eternity,  &c. 


160  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

Valens,  and  Bajazet,  three  proud  emperors,  found  by  experience,  and  so 
have  many  kings,  and  generals,  and  nobles,  as  Scripture  and  history  do 
abundantly  evidence.  Earthly  riches  are  very  uncertain,  1  Tim.  vi.  17. 
They  are  ever  upon  the  wing ;  they  are  like  tennis  balls,  which  are 
banded^  up  and  down  from  one  to  another.  As  the  bird  hops  from  twig 
to  twig,  so  do  riches  from  man  to  man.  This  age  can  furnish  us  with 
multitudes  of  instances  of  this  nature,  &c. 

[7.]  Seventhly  and  lastly.  They  are  the  most  useful  riches,  to  sweeten 
all  other  riches,  mercies,  and  changes,  &c.,  which  speaks  out  the 
excellency  of  these  riches  above  all  other  riches.  The  more  useful  any- 
thing is,  the  more  excellent  it  is.  Now  the  riches  of  Christ  are  of  all 
things  the  most  useful  to  poor  souls.  When  the  soul  is  under  the  guilt 
of  sin,  nothing  relieves  it  like  the  riches  of  Christ.  When  the  soul  is  sur- 
rounded with  temptations,  nothing  strengthens  it  like  the  riches  of 
Christ.  When  the  soul  is  mourning  under  afflictions,  nothing  comforts 
it  like  the  riches  of  Christ.  When  state,  friends,  and  trading  fails, 
nothing  makes  a  Christian  sing  care  away  like  the  riches  of  Christ,  &c. 
The  riches  of  Christ  sweeten  all  other  riches  that  men  enjoy.'^  If  a  man 
be  rich  in  parts,  or  rich  in  grace,  rich  in  faith,  rich  in  knowledge,  rich 
in  wisdom,  rich  in  joy,  rich  in  peace,  &c, ;  or  if  a  man  be  rich  in  tem- 
porals, rich  in  money,  rich  in-  wares,  rich  in  jewels,  rich  in  lands,  &c., 
the  glorious  and  unsearchable  riches  of  Christ  sweeten  all  his  riches, 
and  the  want  of  these  riches  embitters  all  the  riches  that  men  enjoy. 
When  men's  consciences  are  enlightened  and  awakened,  then  they  cry 
out,  what  are  all  these  worldly  riches  to  us,  except  we  had  an  interest 
in  the  riches  of  Christ?  As  Absalom  once  said,  *  What  are  all  these  to 
me,  except  I  see  the  king's  face  ? ' 

I  have  read  of  one  that,  upon  his  dying  bed,  called  for  his  bags,  and 
laid  a  bag  of  gold  to  his  heart,  and  then  cried  out,  '  Take  it  away,  it 
will  not  do,  it  will  not  do.'  There  are  things  that  earthly  riches  can 
never  do. 

They  can  never  satisfy  divine  justice ; 

They  can  never  pacify  divine  wrath  ; 

Nor  they  can  never  quiet  a  guilty  conscience. 

And  till  these  things  are  done,  man  is  undone.  The  crown  of  gold 
cannot  cure  the  headache,  nor  the  honourable  garter  cannot  cure  the 
gout,  nor  the  chain  of  pearls  about  the  neck  cannot  take  away  the  pain 
of  the  teeth.  Oh  but  the  unsearchable  riches  of  Christ  give  ease  under 
all  pains  and  torments. 

Nugas,  the  Scythian  king,  despising  the  rich  presents  and  ornaments 
that  were  sent  unto  him  by  the  emperor  of  Constantinople  (Michael 
Paleolagus),  asked  him  that  brought  them,  '  Whether  those  things  could 
drive  away  calamities,  diseases,  or  deaths  V  looking  upon  all  those  pre- 
sents as  no  presents,  that  could  not  keep  off  calamities  from  him. 
Verily,  all  the  riches  and  glories  of  this  world  cannot  keep  off  the  least 
calamity,  neither  can  they  make  up  the  want  of  the  least  mercy.  But 
the  riches  of  Christ  do  both  keep  off  calamities,  and  make  up  the  want 
of  all  mercies  that  the  soul  craves  or  needs.     All  which  speak  out  the 

•  '  Bandied,'  =  tossed. — G. 

2  Earthly  riches  cannot  enrich  the  soul,  nor  better  the  soul.     Oftentimes  under  silk 
and  satin  apparel  there  is  a  threadbare  soul. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  KICHES  OF  CHRIST.  161 

excellency  of  the  riches  of  Christ  above  all  other  riches.    We  come  now 
unto, 

IV.  The  uses  of  this  point 

And  the  first  use  that  we  shall  make,  is  a  use  of  exhortation,  to  ex- 
hort you  all,  seeing  Christ  is  so  rich,  to  labour  to  be  spiritually  rich. 
Oh  labour  to  be  rich  in  grace.  In  the  handling  of  this  use  I  shall  pro- 
pound this  method. 

[1.]  I  shall  lay  down  some  considerations  that  may  provoke  your 
souls  to  labour  to  be  rich  in  grace. 

[2.]  I  shaJl  propound  some  directions  or  helps,  to  help  you  to  be  rich 
in  grace,  which  is  as  much  a  mercy  as  a  duty,  &c. 

[3.]  I  shall  lay  down  some  propositions  concerning  the  soul's  being 
rich  in  grace. 

[4.]  I  shall  shew  you  how  you  may  know  whether  you  are  the  per- 
sons that  are  rich  in  grace,  or  no. 

I  shall  begin  with  the  first,  and  be  a  little  the  more  large  upon  it, 
because  it  is  a  point  of  mighty  weight  and  concernment ;  and  then  be 
the  more  brief  in  the  three  following  particulars. 

For  the  first,  by  way  of  motive,  I  shall  only  propound  these  following 
considerations,  to  provoke  your  souls  to  labour  to  be  rich  in  grace.  La- 
borandumwsiS  one  of  the  emperors' motto,  and  must  be  every  Christian's. 

[1.]  First,  Consider  that  the  more  rich  the  soul  is  in  grace,  the 
higher  the  soul  will  be  in  joy  and  cotnfort.  ^ 

It  is  the  greatest  measures  of  grace  that  usher  in  the  greatest  mea- 
sure of  joy  and  comfort  into  a  believing  heart.  Christians,  have  you 
tasted  of  the  consolations  of  God  ?  Have  you  at  times  sat  down  and 
drank  of  these  wells  of  salvation  1  Are  your  hearts  carried  out  for  more 
of  those  waters  of  life  ?  Then  labour  to  be  rich  in  grace.  A  little  star 
yields  but  a  little  light,  and  a  little  grace  will  yield  but  a  little  comfort, 
but  great  measures  of  grace  will  yield  a  man  not  only  a  heaven  here- 
after, but  also  a  heaven  of  joy  here.  Divine  comfort  is  a  choice  flower, 
a  precious  jewel,  and  only  to  be  found  in  their  bosoms  that  are  rich  in 
grace.  Spiritual  comforts  are  such  strong  waters,  that  weak  Christians 
are  not  able  to  bear  them.  Great  measures  of  grace  carry  with  them 
the  greatest  evidence  of  the  truth  of  grace ;  and  the  clearer  evidence 
there  is  in  the  soul  of  the  truth  of  grace,  the  higher  will  joy  and  com- 
fort spring.  The  soul  is  apt  to  hang  her  comforts  on  every  hedge,  to 
shift  and  shark  in  every  by-corner  for  comfort ;  but  as  air  lights  not 
without  the  sun,  and  as  fuel  heats  not  without  fire,  so  neither  can  any- 
thing soundly  comfort  a  Christian  without  the  God  of  grace,  without 
his  being  rich  in  grace.  Great  measures  of  grace  carry  with  them  the 
greatest  evidence  of  a  man's  union  and  communion  with  God,  and  the 
more  a  man's  union  and  communion  with  God  is  evidenced,  the  more 
will  the  soul  be  filled  with  that  joy  that  is  unspeakable  and  full  of 
glory,  and  with  that  comfort  and  peace  that  passes  understanding.^  In 
great  measures  of  grace  a  man  may  read  most  of  the  love  and  favour 
of  God  ;  and  the  more  a  man  sees  of  the  love  and  favour  of  God  to 
him,  the  more  high  the  springs  of  comfort  rise  in  him.     In  great  mea- 

'  Oh  the  joys,  the  joys,  the  unconceivable  joys !  ciied  out  Mistress  Katharine  Bretterofe, 
who  had  attained  to  a  great  measure  of  grace,  &c.  [As  before :  see  Index,  sub  nomine. 
— G.]  2  j^terna  erit  exulCatio,  qucn  bono  Icetaiur  cetcrno,  &c. 

VOL.  III.  L 


162  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

sures  of  grace,  as  in  a  crystal  glass,  the  soul  sees  the  glorious  face  of 
God  shining  and  sparkling,  and  this  fills  the  soul  with  joy  :  Acts  ix.  31, 
'Then  had  the  churches  rest  throughout  all  Judea,  and  Galilee,  and 
Samaria,  and  were  edified ;  and  walking  in  the  fear  of  the  Lord,  and 
in  the  comfort  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  were  multiplied.'  The  more  their 
graces  were  increased,  the  more  their  comforts  were  augmented. 

*  If  one  drop  of  the  joy  of  the  Holy  Ghost  should  fall  into  hell,  it 
would  swallow  up  all  the  torments  of  hell,'  saith  Austin.  Oh !  who 
would  not  then  labour  to  increase  in  grace,  that  he  may  abound  in  joy  ? 
The  promise  lies  most  fair  before  their  eyes  that  are  rich  in  grace.  Their 
interest  in  it  is  most  clear,  and  rarely  that  they  go  without  it,  unless  it 
is  by  taking  part  sometimes  with  Satan  against  their  interest  in  Christ, 
or  sometimes  through  the  power  of  unbelief,  which  indeed  cuts  off  all 
the  comfort  of  the  soul,  or  by  looking  after  other  lovers,  or  by  not 
hearkening  to  the  voice  of  the  Comforter,  &c.  Christians,  you  often 
complain  of  the  want  of  joy  and  comfort.  Oh  !  do  but  abound  in  grace, 
and  you  won't  complain  of  the  want  of  comfort.  '  Without  delight  the 
soul  cannot  live,'  saith  one  ;  '  take  away  all  delight,  and  the  soul  dies.' 
Let  this  that  hath  been  spoken,  provoke  every  Christian  to  labour  to  be 
rich  in  grace. 

[2.]  But,  secondly,  consider  this,  you  have  singular  opportunities 
and  choice  advantages  to  be  rich  in  grace. 

There  is  a  price  put  into  your  hands,  but  where  are  your  hearts  ?  In 
former  times  God  gave  our  grace  by  drops,  but  now  by  flagons,  Cant, 
ii.  6.  Opportunities,  if  not  improved,  will,  as  that  sword  that  Hector 
gave  Ajax,  be  turned  into  your  own  bowels.  This  will  be  a  sword  in 
thy  bowels,  that  there  hath  been  soul-enriching  opportunities,  and  thou 
hast  neglected  them,  and  turned  thy  back  upon  them.  The  thoughts 
of  this  will  one  day  be  the  scorpions  that  will  vex  thee,  the  rod  that 
will  lash  thee,  the  thorns  that  will  prick  thee,  and  the  worm  that  will 
gnaw  thee.  '  The  stork,'  saith  the  prophet,  '  knows  his  appointed  times ; 
and  the  turtle,  and  the  crane,  and  the  swallow,  observe  the  time  of  their 
coming ;  but  my  people  know  not  the  judgment  of  the  Lord,'  Jer.  viii.  7. 
The  market  for  your  souls  is  open  ;  slip  not  your  season,  lest  with  the 
foolish  virgins  you  go  to  buy  when  it  is  too  late.  Mat.  xxv.  The  mer- 
chant will  not  slip  his  opportunity  of  buying,  nor  the  sailor  his  of  sail- 
iflg,  nor  the  husbandman  his  of  sowing,  and  why  should  you  slip 
yours  of  growing  rich  in  grace  ?  Many  men  lose  their  souls,  as  Saul 
lost  his  kingdom,  by  not  discerning  their  time  to  be  spiritually  rich. 

Tamerlane  at  first  hung  out  a  white  flag,  but  if  they  slipped  that  oppor- 
tunity, then  a  red,  and  so  death  and  destruction  followed,  &c.  The  Lord 
Jesus  hangs  out  the  white  flag  of  mercy  in  these  days,  to  entice  souls 
to  come  in,  and  to  share  with  him  in  his  glorious  and  unsearchable 
riches,  in  the  riches  of  his  grace  and  mercy ;  but  if  you  stand  out, 
Christ  hath  a  red  flag,  and  if  that  be  once  put  out,  you  are  lost  for  ever. 
Thrice  happy  are  those  that  take  the  first  opportunity  of  closing  with 
Christ,  and  of  subjecting  themselves  to  Christ.^ 

Plutarch  writes  of  Hannibal,  '  That  when  he  could  have  taken  Rome 

*  Sucli  there  have  been  who,  by  giving  a  glass  of  water  opportunely,  have  obtained  a 
kingdom,  as  you  may  see  in  the  story  of  Thaumastus  and  king  Agrippa,  &c.  [Cf.  Index 
s.  «.— G.] 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  168 

he  would  not,  but  when  he  would  have  taken  Rome  he  could  not/^ 
When  many  men  may  have  mercy,  they  won't,  and  when  they  would 
have  mercy,  they  shan't,  Prov.  i.  24,  seq.  Mercy  and  grace  are  some- 
times upon  the  bare  knee.  Christ  stands  knocking  at  sinners'  doors  ; 
he  is  willing  to  come  in  and  make  sinners  rich  and  happy  for  ever;  he 
calls  upon  souls  to  open  to  him,  E,ev.  iii.  20,  seq.  '  Lift  up  your  heads, 
O  ye  gates ;  and  be  ye  lift  up,  ye  everlasting  doors ;  and  the  King  of  glory 
shall  come  in.  Who  is  the  King  of  glory  ?  The  Lord  strong  and 
mighty,  the  Lord  mighty  in  battle,'  Ps.  xxiv.  7,  8.  The  King  of  glory 
comes  not  vacuis  manibus,  empty-handed  ;  no,  he  comes  with  his 
hands  and  heart  full  of  rich  and  royal  presents,  and  blessed  and  enriched 
for  ever  are  those  that  open  to  this  King  of  glory,  &c. 

[3.]  Thirdly,  Consider  this,  souls  rich  in  grace  shall  have  their  names 
immortal. 

Every  man  naturally  would  have,  if  it  were  possible,  his  name  im- 
mortal. Now  there  is  no  way  in  the  world  to  have  your  names  immor- 
tal, like  this  of  growing  rich  in  grace.  A  man  that  is  spiritually  rich 
shall  live,  and  his  name  shall  live  when  he  is  dead.  In  Neh.  vii.  2,  it 
is  said  of  Hananiah,  that  *  he  was  a  faithful  man,  and  feared  God  above 
many  ;'  or,  '  he  feared  God  above  multitudes,'  as  the  Hebrew  hath  it : 
merabbim,  from  rahab.  His  name  lives,  though  his  body  for  many 
hundred  years  hath  been  turned  to  dust.  So  in  Acts  vii.  55,  '  Stephen 
was  a  man  full  of  the  Holy  Ghost.'  Though  Stephen  was  stoned,  yet 
his  name  lives,  his  memorial  is  precious  among  the  saints  to  this  very 
day.  So  in  Heb.  xi.  38,  they  were  such  '  of  whom  this  world  was 
not  worthy.'  And  in  the  third  Epistle  of  John,  the  six  first  verses, 
compared  with  ver.  1 2,  Gains  and  Demetrius,  who  were  rich  in  grace, 
have  crowns  of  honour  set  upon  their  heads,  their  names  live,  and  are 
a  sweet  savour  to  this  very  day,  &c.  So  in  Ps.  cxii.  6,  *  The  righteous 
shall  be  had  in  everlasting  remembrance,  but  the  name  of  the  wicked 
ghall  rot.'  The  great  man's  name,  and  the  rich  man's  name,  shall  rot, 
saith  he,  but  *  the  name  of  the  righteous  shall  be  had  in  everlasting 
remembrance.'^ 

The  Persians  use  to  write  their  kings'  names  in  golden  characters  ; 
so  the  Lord  writes  the  names  of  souls  rich  in  grace  in  golden  characters. 
Their  names  are  always  heirs  to  their  lives.  Believe  it,  there  is  no  such 
way  in  the  world  to  have  immortal  names,  like  this  of  growing  rich  in 
grace.  One  man  thinks  to  make  his  name  immortal,  by  making  him- 
self great ;  another  by  heaping  up  silver  and  gold  as  the  dust  of  the 
earth  or  the  stones  of  the  street,  and  another  by  doing  some  strange 
exploits,  &c.  But  for  all  this  the  Lord  will  make  good  his  word,  *  the 
name  of  the  wicked  shall  rot.'  If  God  be  God,  his  name  must  rot ;  but 
'  the  righteous  shall  be  had  in  everlasting  remembrance ;'  they  leave 
their  names  behind  for  a  blessing,  Isa.  Ixv.  1 5.  It  is  sad  to  consider 
what  many  poor  carnal  creatures  have  done  and  suffered  to  make  their 
names  immortal.  The  Romans'  desires  of  praise  and  a  name,  made 
them  bountiful  of  their  purses,  and  prodigal  of  their  lives,'' 

'  In  '  Lives'  of  Fabius  Maximus  and  T.  Quinctius  Flaminius. — G. 
*  JEgo  si  bonam  jamam  servasso,  sat  dives  ergo,  if  1  may  but  keep  a  good  name,  I  liave 
wealth  enough,  said  Plautus. 

3  A  good  name  yields  a  fragrant  smell  over  town  and  country  ;  it  puts  a  shining  lustre 


164  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

Erostratus  set  the  temple  of  Diana  on  fire,  on  that  night  that  Alex- 
ander was  born,  only  that  he  might  be  talked  of  when  he  was  dead.^ 

Calvin  observes,  that  Servetus  in  Geneva,  in  the  year  J  555,  gave  all 
his  goods  to  the  poor,  and  his  body  to  be  burned,  and  all  for  a  name, 
for  a  little  glory  among  men.  But  these  poor  creatures  have  all  missed 
the  mark.  There  is  no  way.  Christians,  to  have  your  names  immortal, 
like  this,  of  growing  rich  in  grace.  Satan  nor  the  world  shall  never  be 
able  to  bury  such  men's  names,  who  are  rich  in  grace  ;  their  names 
shall  rise  in  glory  here,  as  well  as  their  bodies  hereafter. 

[4.]  But  then,  fourthly  and  mainly,  consider,  that  spiritual  riches 
will  enable  you  to  live  up  to  your  principles. 

That  man  that  hath  but  so  much  grace  as  will  keep  hell  and  his  soul 
asunder,  will  never  live  up  to  his  principles.  Souls  weak  in  grace  are 
too  apt  to  deny,  and  in  their  practices  to  contradict,  their  own  prin- 
ciples ;  and  oh  that  this  age  could  not  furnish  us  with  too  many  instances 
of  this  nature  !  Oh  !  what  is  that  that  is  the  reproach  of  religion,  and 
the  dishonour  of  God  and  the  gospel,  but  this,  that  professors  live  below 
their  principles,  that  they  live  not  up  to  their  principles  ?  And  let  me 
tell  you.  Christians,  there  is  nothing  but  a  rich  measure  of  grace  that 
will  enable  a  soul  to  live  up  to  his  principles.  A  man  that  is  not  rich 
in  grace  will  never  be  able  to  live  up  to  his  own  principles,  but  will 
upon  every  occasion  and  temptation  be  ready  to  wound  two  at  once ; 
the  honour  of  God  and  his  own  soul.  Yea,  men  that  are  not  rich  in 
grace,  will  be  ready  to  deny  their  own  principles,  as  many  weak  Chris- 
tians did  in  persecuting  times. 

But  you  will  say  to  me.  What  are  those  gracious  and  holy  principles, 
tliat  a  rich  measure  of  grace  will  enable  a  man  to  live  up  to  .? 

I  will  instance  only  in  those  that  have  most  worth  and  weight  in 
them,  and  they  are  worthy  of  all  your  thoughts. 

(1.)  First,  It  is  your  principle,  that  you  m^ust  rather  suffer  than  sin. 
It  is  your  principle  rather  to  undergo  the  greatest  calamities,  than 
willingly  to  commit  the  least  iniquity.  Now,  pray  tell  me,  what  will 
enable  a  Christian  to  live  up  to  this  principle?  Will  a  little  grace,  a 
little  knowledge  of  God,  a  little  faith  in  God,  a  little  love  to  God,  a 
little  zeal  for  God,  a  little  communion  with  ,God  ?  Will  this  do  it  ? 
Surely  no.  It  must  be  much  grace  that  must  enable  the  soul  to  live 
up  to  this  principle.^  When  sin  and  suffering  have  stood  in  competi- 
tion, many  weak  Christians  have  chosen  rather  to  sin,  than  to  suffer, 
which  hath  opened  many  a  mouth,  and  sadded  many  a  heart,  and 
wounded  many  a  conscience.  Yea,  such  by  their  not  suffering,  have 
suffered  more  than  ever  they  could  have  suffered  from  the  wrath  and 
rage  of  man.  Oh  !  but  now  spiritual  riches  will  enable  a  man  to  live 
up  to  this  principle,  as  you  may  see  in  Daniel,  who  had  an  excellent 
spirit  in  him,  who  was  rich  in  grace,  and  filled  with  the  Holy  Ghost ; 
he  lives  up  to  his  principles  ;  he  lives  out  his  principles,  when  he 
was  put  hard  to  it ;  when  he  must  either  neglect  the  worship  of  his 
God  and  make  a  god  of  his  king,  or  to  the  lions'  den.  Now,  Daniel 
upon  the  countenance  ;  it  fitteth  to  any  public  employment,  in  ministry  or  magistracy  ; 
it  stops  many  a  foul  mouth,  and  it  makes  men  live  when  they  aro  dead. 
*  As  before  :  Index,  sub  nomine — G. 

2  It  is  better  for  me  to  be  a  martyr  than  a  monarch,  said  Ignatius  when  he  was  to 
suffer,  &c. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  1 65 

chooses  rather  to  be  cast  into  the  lions'  den  than  not  to  do  homage  to 
his  God ;  he  had  rather  suffer  much,  than  that  God  should  lose  a  dram 
of  his  glory.  Of  the  same  spirit  and  metal  were  those  worthies,  Heb. 
xi.,  who,  when  they  were  put  ip  it,  did  rather  choose  to  suffer  the  very 
worst  of  miseries,  than  they  would  in  the  least  dishonour  the  Lord, 
wound  their  own  consciences,  and  make  work  for  repentance,  &c.  And 
so  did  Jovinian,  Eusebius,  Galeacius  [Carraciolus],  Basil,  Vincentius, 
Bolilas,  &c.  By  all  which  you  see,  that  Christians  that  are  spiritually 
rich,  live  up  to  this  principle,  viz.,  to  suffer  rather  than  sin,  when  sin 
and  suffering  stand  in  competition;  which  babes  in  grace  cannot  do.^ 

(2.)  Secondly,  It  is  your  principle,  that  grace  and  virtue  are  to  he 
pursued  after,  for  their  own  worth,  beauty,  and  excellency. 

But  pray,  tell  me,  what  will  carry  a  Christian  out  to  this  principle  ? 
Will  a  little  grace  carry  a  man  out  to  pursue  after  grace,  for  the  beauty, 
holiness,  excellency,  and  spirituality  that  is  in  it  ?     Alas  !  we  see  by 
daily  experience  that  it  will  not  do  it.     All  other  considerations  put 
together,  are  little  enough  to  draw  men  on  to  pursue  after  grace  for  its 
native  beauty  and  excellency.     Many  seek  Christ,  but  it  is  for  loaves 
more  than  for  love,  John  vi.  26  ;  and  they  pursue  after  the  means  of 
grace,  not  for  the  beauty,  excellency,  and  glory  that  is  stamped  upon 
the  means,  but  one  to  maintain  his  honour,  and  another  to  keep  up  his 
name,  and  another  to  bring  in  credit  or  custom,  and  another  to  please 
his  friends,  and  another  to  silence  his  conscience,  &c.,  but  few  there  be, 
if  any,  but  those  that  are  rich  in  grace,  that  are  true  to  this  principle, 
that  pursue  after  grace  for  its  own  beauty  and  excellency.     It  was  a 
notable  expression  of  David,  who  was  a  man  rich  in  grace,  Ps.  cxix. 
140,  '  Thy  word  is  very  pure,  therefore  thy  servant  loveth  it.'     Oh  !  for 
a  soul  to  love  grace,  and  the  word  of  grace,  for  its  own  interest,  for  the 
holiness,  purity,  and  glory  of  it.     This  speaks  out  the  soul  to  be  rich  in 
grace.     So  Paul,  a  man  rich  in  grace,  pursues  after  grace  for  its  own 
interest,  for  the  beauty  and  excellency  of  it.     He  forgets  '  what  is  be- 
hind, and  presses  forward  after  the  mark  for  the  prize  of  the  high 
calling  of  God  in  Christ  Jesus,  that  if  by  any  means  he  might  attain  to 
the  resurrection  of  the  dead,'  Philip,  iii.  13,  14.     That  is,  to  that  perfec- 
tion that  the  dead  shall  reach  to  in  the  morning  of  the  resurrection,  &c. 
The  young  philosophers  were  very  forward  to  get  the  precepts  of 
their  sect,  and  the  rules  of  severity,  that  they  might  discourse  with 
kings  and  nobles,  not  that  they  might  reform  their  own  manners. 
Many  professors  in  this  age  are  like  those  philosophers;  they  are  very 
industrious  to  get  knowledge,  that  they  may  be  able  to  discourse,  and 
that  they  may  be  eyed,  owned,  and  honoured  among  others,  for  their 
knowledge  and  understanding.^     But  now  souls  that  are  rich  in  grace, 
they  labour  after  greater  measures  of  grace,  out  of  love  to  grace,  and 
because  of  an  excellency  that  they  see  in  grace.     Grace  is  a  very  spark- 
ling jewel,  and  he  that  loves  it,  and  pursues  after  it  for  its  own  native 
beauty,  hath  much  of  it  within  him,  &c. 

(3.)  Thirdly,  It  is  your  principle,  that  men  must  subject  themselves, 
and  square  all  their  actions  by  the  word  of  God. 

^  Of  the  very  same  spirit  were  the  primitive  Christians;  they  chose  rather  to  he  thrown 
to  lions  without  than  left  to  lusts  within.  Ad  leonem  viagis  quam  lenonem,  saith  Ter- 
tullian.  *  There  may  be  malum  opus  in  bona  materia,  as  iu  Jehu's  zeal,  &c. 


166  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

Now,  what  will  make  a  man  live  up  to  this  principle  ?  "Will  a  little 
grace  ?  Surely  no,  Isa.  viii.  10.  But  great  measures  of  grace  will. 
Zacharias  and  Elizabeth  were  rich  in  grace,  and  they  lived  up  to  this 
principle:  Luke  i.  5,  'They  walked  in^all  the  commandments  of  the 
Lord  blameless.'  The  apostles  were  rich  in  grace,  and  they  lived  up  to 
this  principle  :  2  Cor.  i.  12,  'This  is  our  rejoicing,  the  testimony  of  our 
conscience,  that  in  simplicity  and  godly  sincerity,  we  have  had  our 
conversation  in  the  world.'  So  in  1  Thes.  ii.  10,  'Ye  are  witnesses,  and 
God  also,  how  holily,  justly,  and  unblameably,  we  have  behaved  our- 
selves among  you  that  believe.'  Oh !  here  are  souls  that  live  up  to 
their  principles.  A  Christian  that  is  rich  in  grace  is  excellent  all 
over. 

George,  prince  of  Anhalt  his  family  is  said  to  have  been  ecclesia, 
academia,  curia,  a  church,  a  university,  and  a  court.  A  Christian  that 
is  rich  in  grace  hath  a  heart  as  large  as  his  head,  yea,  a  heart  that  is  as 
large  as  the  whole  will  of  God  :  Acts  xiii.  22,  '  I  have  found  David  the 
son  of  Jesse,  a  man  after  my  own  heart,  which  shall  fulfil  all  my  will' 
In  the  Greek  it  is,  all  ony  wills,  ^sX^J.^ara,  to  note  the  universality  and 
sincerity  of  his  obedience.  Souls  rich  in  grace  practise  that  themselves 
which  they  prescribe  to  others.  Lessons  of  miisic  and  copies  must  not 
be  read  only,  but  acted  also.  Souls  rich  in  grace  are  good  at  this,  and 
they  will  be  good  in  all  places  and  cases.  They  are  as  good  at  the 
particular  duties  of  religion,  as  at  those  that  are  more  general ;  they 
are  good  fathers,  and  good  masters,  and  good  husbands,  as  well  as  good 
Christians,  in  a  more  general  sense.  But  now  souls  that  have  but  a  little 
grace,  they  are  much  in  the  general  duties  of  religion^  but  very  defective 
in  the  particular  duties  of  religion,  as  sad  experience  doth  abundantly 
evidence.  Those  that  have  a  blemish  in  their  eye,  think  the  sky  to  be 
ever  cloudy  ;  and  nothing  is  more  common  to  weak  spirits,  than  to  be 
criticising  and  contending  about  other  duties,  and  to  neglect  their  own. 
But  such  that  are  rich  in  grace,  make  it  their  glory  to  subject  them- 
selves to  the  rule  of  righteausness ;  as  Baldasser,  a  German  minister, 
cried  out.  Let  the  word  of  the  Lord  come,  let  it  come,  saith  he,  and  we 
will  submit  to  it,  if  we  had  many  hundred  necks  to  put  under.  It 
must  be  much  grace  that  must  enable  a  man  freely,  fully,  and  sweetly 
to  subject  himself  and  his  actions  to  the  word  of  the  Lord. 

(4.)  FouHhly^  It  is  your  principle,  that  you  must  deny  yourselves, 
your  own  profit,  ease,  pleasure,  &c.,  for  a  public  good. 

And  this  the  Scripture  requires.  It  is  your  principle  to  deny  your- 
selves, your  own  honour,  pleasure,  profit,  &c.,  for  a  public  advantage, 
when  your  particular  advantages  stand  in  competition  with  the  public. 
Now  self  must  be  laid  by,  and  the  public  must  carry  the  day.  Oh,  but 
will  a  little  grace  enable  a  man  to  live  up  to  this  principle  !  Woful 
experience  shews  the  contrary.  Ay,  but  now,  take  me  a  man  that  is 
rich  in  grace,  and  he  will  live  up  to  this  golden  principle,  as  you  may 
see  in  Nehem.  v,  14-18.  Nehemiah  was  a  man  eminent  in  grace,  and 
he  chose  rather  to  live  upon  his  own  purse  than  upon  the  public 
purse  :  '  Moreover,  from  the  time  that  I  was  appointed  to  be  their 
governor  in  the  land  of  Judah,  from  the  twentieth  year  even  unto  the 
thirty-second  year  of  Artaxerxes  the  kinsf,  that  is,  twelve  years,  I  and 
my  brethren  have  not  eaten  the  bread  of  the  governor.     Behold  the 


EpH.  hi.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  107 

former  governors  that  had  been  before  me,  were  chargeable  unto  the 
people,  and  had  taken  of  them  bread  and  wine,  besides  forty  shekels  of 
silver  ;  yea,  even  their  servants  did  bear  rule  over  the-  people  :  but  so 
did  not  I,  because  of  the  fear  of  God.  Yea,  also  I  continued  in  the 
work  of  this  wall,  neither  bought  we  any  land  :  and  all  my  servants 
were  gathered  thither  unto  the  work.  Moreover,  there  were  at  my 
table  an  hundred  and  fifty  of  the  Jews  and  rulers,  besides  those  that 
came  in  to  us  from  among  the  heathen.  And  yet  for  all  this,'  saith  he, 
'  I  required  not  the  bread  of  the  governor,  because  the  bondage  was 
heavy  upon  the  people.'  Oh,  here  was  a  brave  spirit  indeed ;  he  was  far 
from  enriching  himself  by  others'  ruins,  from  emptying  others'  purses  to 
till  his  own.  But  he  is  dead,  and  it  seems  this  brave  spirit  is  buried 
with  him.  There  are  few  of  his  name,  and  fewer  of  his  spirit,  if  any  in 
this  world,  and  therefore  well  might  he  pray,  '  Think  upon  me,  my 
God,  for  good,  according  to  all  that  I  have  done  for  this  people.'  And 
accordingly  God  did  think  upon  him  for  good,  and  made  him  very- 
famous  and  glorious  in  his  generation.^  And  that  is  a  remarkable 
passage  concerning  Moses  :  Num.  xiv.  12-21,  *I  will  smite  them  with 
the  pestilence,  and  disinherit  them,  and  will  make  of  thee  a  great 
nation,  and  mightier  than  they,'  saith  God  to  Moses.  '  Therefore  let  me 
alone  to  destroy  them  and  cut  them  off,  for  they  are  a  rebellious  genera- 
tion. And  I  will  make  thee  a  mightier  nation  for  honour,  riches,  and 
power,  than  they.  Nay,'  saith  Moses,  '  this  may  not  be.  Lord.'  Oh,  the 
people  must  be  spared,  the  people  must  be  pardoned,  and  the  people 
must  have  thy  presence  with  them,  and  rather  than  it  should  be  other- 
wise, let  my  name.  Lord,  be  blotted  out  of  the  book  of  life.  Lord  !  I 
care  not  how  ill  it  goes  with  my  particular,  so  they  may  live.  Can  the 
self-seekers  of  our  age  think  seriously  of  this  and  not  blush  ? 

So  Mordecai  was  a  man  of  a  brave  public  spirit :  Esther  x.  3,  '  Mor- 
decai  the  Jew  was  next  unto  King  Ahasuerus,  and  great  among  the 
Jews,  and  accepted  of  the  multitude  of  his  brethren,  seeking  the  wealth 
of  his  people.'  Or  as  the  Hebrew  hath  it,  '  Seeking  good  for  his  peo- ' 
pie  ;'  that  is,  he  made  it  his  business  to  seek  their  good.  Christ  also 
was  full  of  grace,  and  had  a  brave  public  spirit ;  he  laid  out  himself 
and  laid  down  himself  for  a  public  good  ;  and  so  did  Paul,  &c.  Few  in 
our  days  are  of  his  opinion  and  mind,  who  was  rather  willing  to  beautify 
Italy  than  his  own  house.^  '  That  pilot  dies  nobly,'  saith  Seneca,  '  who 
perisheth  in  the  storm  with  the  helm  in  his  hand.'  Such  that  seek 
themselves  more  than  the  public  good  must  be  served  as  ^sop  did  his 
fellow-servant ;  he  gave  him  warm  water  to  drink,  by  which  means  he 
vomited  up  the  stolen  figs.  Friends,  it  is  not  a  little  grace  that  will 
make- a  man  prefer  the  public  good,  above  his  own  particular  good,  but 
much  grace  will ;  therefore  labour  to  be  rich  in  grace.^ 

(5.)  Fifthly,  It  is  your  principle,  that  you  are  to  do  the  duties  that 
God  requires  of  you,  and  quietly  leave  the  issues  and  events  of  all  to 
the  wise  dispose  of  God. 

Mt  is  a  base  and  unworthy  spiiit  for  a  man  to  make  himself  the  centre  of  all  his 
actions.  The  very  heathen  man  could  say,  A  man's  country  and  his  friends,  and  others, 
challenge  a  great  part  of  him. 

2  Lorenzo  the  Magnificent. — G. 

•'  Christ  healed  others,  but  was  hurt  himself;  he  fed  and  filled  others,  but  was  hungry 
himself,  &c. 


168  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPIl.  III.  8. 

But  pray  tell  me,  will  a  little  grace  enable  a  mau  to  live  up  to  this 
principle,  to  do  his  duty,  and  to  leave  issues  and  events  to  him  to  whom 
they  belong  ?  Surely  no.  Eccles.  ix.  10,  '  Whatsoever  thy  hand  lindeth 
to  do,  do  it  with  all  thy  might,  for  there  is  no  work,  nor  device,  nor 
knowledge,  nor  wisdom  in  the  grave  whither  thou  goest.  Mark,  he 
doth  not  say,  what  thy  head  finds  to  do,  for  that  may  find  a  thousand 
things  ;  nor  what  thy  heart  finds  to  do,  for  that  may  find  ten  thousand 
things  ;  but  what  thy  hand  finds  to  do ;  that  is,  look  what  work  God  cuts 
out  to  thy  hand  to  do,  that  do  with  all  thy  might,  for  there  is  no  work- 
ing in  the  grave.  We  are  to  do  much  good  in  a  little  time  ;  we  are 
made  here,  and  set  to  be  a-doing  something  that  may  do  us  good  a' 
thousand  years  hence,  yea,  that  may  stand  us  in  stead  to  eternity.  Our 
time  is  short,  our  task  is  great,  the  devil  knows  that  his  time  is  but 
short,  and  that  is  the  reason  why  he  is  so  active  and  stirring,  why  he 
does  outwork  the  children  of  light,  in  a  quick  despatch  of  the  deeds  of 
darkness.  Christians,  do  not  deceive  yourselves ;  it  is  not  shows  of 
grace,  nor  little  measures  of  grace,  that  will  enable  a  man  to  live  up  to 
this  principle,  but  great  measures  of  grace  will,  as  you  may  see  in  the 
three  children,  *  We  are  not  careful  to  answer  thee,  O  king,  in  this  matter; 
if  it  be  so,  our  God  whom  we  serve  is  able  to  deliver  us  from  the  burning 
fiery  furnace,  and  he  will  deliver  us  out  of  thine  hands,  0  king.  But  if 
not,  be  it  known  unto  thee,  O  king,  that  we  will  not  serve  thy  gods,  nor 
worship  the  golden  image  which  thou  hast  set  up.'  We  know  our  duty, 
and  that  we  will  keep  to,  whatever  the  issue  and  event  be.  So  those 
worthies,  Ps.  xliv.  19,  'Though  thou  hast  sore  broken  us  in  the  place  of 
dragons,  and  covered  us  with  the  shadow  of  death,  yet  have  we  not 
forgotten  thee,  neither  have  we  dealt  falsely  in  thy  covenant.'  Here 
was  much  of  Christ  and  grace  within.  So  in  Acts  xxi.,  when  Paul  was 
to  go  up  to  Jerusalem  to  suffer,  his  friends, by  many  tears  and  arguments, 
laboured  to  dissuade  him,  for  fear  of  some  sad  issue  and  event  that  would 
follow.  But  Paul,  rich  in  grace,  answered,  *  What  mean  ye  to  weep,  and 
break  ray  heart,  for  I  am  ready  not  to  be  bound  only,  but  also  to  die  at 
Jerusalem,  for  the  name  of  the  Lord  Jesus.'  I  will  go  up  to  Jerusalem, 
and  I  am  willing  to  go  up,  though  I  die  for  it.  Ay,  here  is  a  soul  that 
lives  up  to  his  principle,  Ay,  but  now  souls  that  are  weak  in  grace,  as 
we  have  had  large  experience  of  it  in  our  times,  they  are  more  taken 
up  and  busied  about  the  events  and  issues  of  things,  than  they  are  with 
their  o^vn  duties.^  When  they  should  be  a-praying,  a-believing,  a-waiting, 
and  acting  for  God,  they  have  been  a-questioning  and  fearing  what  the 
issue  and  event  of  this,  and  that,  and  the  other  thing  would  be.  And 
indeed  they  have  been  high  and  low,  as  secondary  causes  have  wrought, 
which  hath  made  many  of  their  lives  a  very  hell.  But  now  those  that 
are  rich  in  grace,  they  say  as  once  he  did,  'Let  us  be  of  good  courage,  and 
let  us  play  the  men  for  our  people,  and  for  the  cities  of  our  God,  and  the 
Lord  do  that  which  seemeth  him  good,'  2  Sam.  x.  10-12.  Let  us  do  our 
duties,  and  let.  the  Lord  do  as  pleaseth  him,  &c. 

(6.)  Sixthly,  It  is  your  principle,  that  men  are  to  he  prepared,  and 
to  standfast  against  all  sadden  assaidts  and  invasions  that  may  be 
made  vpon  them. 

Many  a  valiant  person  dares  fight  in  a  battle  or  a  duel,  who  yet  w^ill 
'  Many  of  the  English  have  in  this  been  like  the  Israelites,  &c. 


i 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  169 

be  timorous  and  fearful  if  suddenly  surprised  in  a  midnight  alarm. 
Many  precious  souls,  when  they  have  time  to  consider  of  the  evil  of  sin, 
the  holiness  of  God,  the  eye  of  God,  the  honour  of  God,  the  glory  of  the 
gospel,  the  joys  of  the  saints,  and  the  stopping  of  the  mouths  of  sinners, 
will  rather  die  than  sin  ;  they  will  rather  suffer  anything  than  do  the 
least  thing  that  may  be  a  reproach  to  Christ.  Oh  !  but  when  a  sudden 
occasion  or  temptation  is  presented,  why,  then  they  often  fall ;  as  David, 
by  chance,  spied  Bathsheba  washing  herself,  and  falls  before  tlie  tempta- 
tion ;  he  is  conquered  and  carried  captive  by  that  sudden  occasion. 
But  that  is  a  more  comfortable  and  considerable  passage  that  you  have 
concerning  Joseph,  in  Gen.  xlix  23,  24,  *  The  archers  sorely  grieved 
him,'  saith  the  text,  '  and  shot  at  him,  and  hated  him :  but  his  bow 
abode  in  strength,  and  the  arms  of  his  hands  were  made  strong  by  the 
hands  of  the  mighty  God  of  Jacob.'  Joseph  never  wanted  counsel  nor 
courage  when  he  was  at  the  worst.  Souls  rich  in  grace  usually  stand 
firm  under  the  greatest  and  sudden  est  pressures,  assaults,  and  invasions, 
as  you  may  see  in  Paul,  2  Cor.  i.  9-12 ;  and  so  the  three  children  ;  and 
so  Daniel ;  and  so  those  worthies,  Heb.  xi.  35,  *  They  would  not  accept 
of  deliverance,  that  they  might  obtain  a  better  resurrection.'  Many 
sudden  assaults  and  attempts  were  made  upon  them  ;  their  enemies 
would  fain  have  stormed  them,  and  overcome  them  ;  sometimes  by 
golden  offers,  sometimes  by  terrible  threats,  but  they  are  invincible  ; 
nothing  stirs  them,  nothing  takes  them.  Really,  friends,  it  must  be 
much  grace  that  will  make  a  man  live  up  to  this  principle  ;  and  there 
is  nothing  that  speaks  out  more  the  strength  of  grace  in  a  man,  than 
his  standing  against  sudden  assaults  and  invasions  that  by  the  devil  and 
the  world  are  made  upon  him.  You  may  talk  of  this,  but  without  much 
grace  you  will  never  be  able  to  do  it,  &c. 

(7.)  Seventhly  and  lastly.  It  is  your  principle,  that  your  hearts  are 
to  he  ready  for  every  work  that  God  shall  impose  upon  you. 

You  are  not  to  choose  your  employment,  neither  are  you  to  refuse  any 
employment  that  God  shall  put  upon  you.  You  are  always  to  have  an 
open  ear,  a  ready  hand,  an  obedient  heart,  and  a  willing  cheerful  soul 
to  fall  in  with  what  work  or  service  soever  it  is  that  God  shall  put  upon 
you ;  this  is  your  principle.  Ay,  but  tell  me.  Christians,  will  a  little 
grace  enable  a  man  to  live  up  to  this  principle  ?  I  judge  not.  You 
are  to  stand  ready  to  change  your  employment  from  better  to  worse,  if 
the  Lord  shall  be  pleased  to  order  it  so.  You  are  to  be  ready  to  change 
your  crown  for  a  cross  •  to  change  that  employment  that  is  honourable, 
for  that  that  is  mean  and  low ;  and  that  which  is  more  profitable,  for 
that  which  is  less  profitable  :  as  it  were  from  the  ruling  of  a  province, 
to  the  keeping  of  a  herd  ;  from  being  a  lord,  to  be  a  servant ;  from 
being  a  servant  to  great  men  ;  to  be  a  servant  to  the  meanest  servant, 
yea,  to  the  poorest  beast.  Certainly  a  little  grace  will  never  enable  a 
man  bravely  and  sweetly  to  live  up  to  this  principle.  Their  hearts  that 
are  poor  in  grace,  are  like  a  wounded  hand  or  arm,  which  being  but 
imperfectly  cured,  can  only  move  one  way,  and  cannot  turn  to  all  postures 
and  all  natural  uses. 

Weak  Christians  are  very  apt  to  three  things,  to  choase  their  mercies, 
to  choose  their  crosses,  and  to  choose  their  employments. 

They  are  often  unwilling  that  God  himself  should  choose  out  their  way 


170  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EpH.  III.  8. 

or  their  work.  But  now  souls  that  are  rich  in  grace,  they  are  at  God's 
beck  and  check  ;  they  are  willing  that  God  shall  choose  their  work  and 
their  way  ;  they  are  willing  to  be  at  his  dispose  ;  to  be  high  or  low  ;  to 
serve  or  to  be  served ;  to  be  something  or  to  be  nothing,  &c.  Now  I 
beseech  you,  Christians,  that  you  would  seriously  and  frequently  re- 
member this,  that  there  is  nothing  in  all  the  world  that  is  such  an 
honour  to  God,  and  a  glory  to  the  gospel,  as  for  Christians  to  live  up  to 
their  principles  ;  nor  nothing  such  a  reproach  to  God  and  his  ways,  as 
this,  for  men  to  live  below  their  principles,  and  to  act  contrary  to  their 
principles.  And  you  will  never  be  able  to  live  up  to  your  principles, 
nor  to  live  out  your  principles,  except  you  grow  rich  in  grace  ;  therefore 
labour,  I  say,  labour  as  for  life,  to  abound  in  grace,  &c. 

[5.J  Now  the  fifth  motive  is  this,  consider  that  souls  rich  in  grace 
are  a  mighty  blessing  to  the  land  and  place  where  they  live. 

There  are  no  such  blessings  in  the  world  to  parishes,  cities,  and 
nations,  as  those  souls  are,  that  are  rich  in  grace.  Oh  they  are  great 
blessings  to  all  places  where  they  come  ;  they  are  persons  that  are  fit 
for  the  highest  and  noblest  employments.  There  is  not  the  highest 
work  that  is  too  high  for  a  man  that  is  rich  in  grace  ;  nor  the  hottest 
work  that  is  too  hot  for  a  man  rich  in  grace  ;  nor  the  lowest  work  be- 
low a  man  rich  in  grace.  Such  a  man  will  not  say,  I  would  do  it,  but 
that  it  is  below  my  place,  my  blood,  my  parts,  my  education.  May 
Christ  have  honour  ?  may  others  have  good  ?  If  so,  I  will  do  it,  saith 
the  soul  that  is  rich  in  grace,  whatever  comes  of  it,  and  bless  God  for 
the  opportunity  :  Dan.  vi.  3,  ^  Then  this  Daniel  was  preferred  above 
the  presidents  and  princes,  because  an  excellent  spirit  was  in  him  ; 
and  the  king  thought  to  set  him  over  the  whole  realm.'  Why  was 
Daniel  set  upon  the  throne,  but  because  there  was  a  glorious  excellent 
spirit  in  him,  that  fitted  him  for  the  highest  employment  ?  So  Joseph 
was  a  blessing  to  his  master's  family,  and  the  people  among  whom  he 
lived.  No  such  blessings  to  people  and  places,  as  souls  rich  in  grace. 
So  in  Neh.  vii.  2,  '  I  gave  my  brother  Hanani,  and  Hananiah  the  ruler 
of  the  palace,  charge  over  Jerusalem  ;'  and  why  he  ?  'for  he  was  a  faith- 
ful man,  and  feared  God  above  many.'  Oh  the  wisdom,  the  prudence, 
the  zeal,  the  courage,  the  compassion,  the  patience,  the  self  denial,  that 
should  be  in  magistrates  !  There  is  a  truth  in  that  old  maxim,  magi- 
stratus  virum  indicat,  magistracy  will  try  a  man.  None  fit  to  rule, 
but  such  that  are  rich  in  grace  ;  such  a  one  will  be  pater  patrice,  father 
of  his  country.  What  a  world  of  good  may  a  man  do  with  worldly 
riches,  in  a  parish,  in  a  city,  in  a  nation  !  but  that  is  nothing  to  the 
good  that  a  man  may  do  that  is  rich  in  grace.  Oh  the  sins  that  he  may 
prevent !  Oh  the  judgments  that  he  may  divert !  Oh  the  favours  and 
blessings  that  he  may  draw  down  upon  the  heads  and  hearts  of 
people  !  I  presume  you  forget  not  what  a  blessing  Moses,  Joseph,  Job, 
Nehemiah,  Mordecai,  and  Daniel,  proved  to  the  people  among  whom  they 
lived  ;  and  these  were  all  rich  in  grace.  A  man  rich  in  wisdom,  rich  in 
faith,  rich  in  goodness,  &c.,  oh  what  a  blessing  may  he  prove  to 
ignorant  souls,  to  staggering  souls,  to  wandering  souls,  to  tempted  souls, 
to  deserted  souls,  &c.  Look,  what  the  sun  is  to  us,  that  may  a  soul  rich 
in  grace  be  to  others,  &c.  O  friends  !  would  you  be  blessings  to  your 
families  ?  would  you  be  blessings  to  the  city,  to  the  nation  ?     Oh  then 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  I7l 

labour  to  be  rich  in  grace,  and  do  not  think  it  enough  that  you  have  so 
much  grace  as  will  keep  you  from  dropping  into  hell,  and  that  will  bring 
you  to  heaven  ;  but  labour  to  be  rich  in  grace,  and  then  you  will  prove 
indeed  a  blessing  to  the  place  and  nation  where  you  live. 

The  Romans,  when  they  did  perceive  any  natural  excellency  to  be  in 
any  persons,  though  they  were  never  so  poor  and  mean,  they  would  take 
them  from  their  dinners  of  turnips  and  water-cresses,  to  lead  the  Roman 
army.^  It  is  true,  that  natural  and  moral  endowments  will  enable  men 
to  do  much  ;  but  grace  will  enable  men  to  do  ten  thousand  times  more. 
There  is  no  work  too  high  nor  too  hard  for  souls  rich  in  grace  ;  and 
therefore,  as  you  would  be  choice  instruments  in  the  Lord's  hand,  and 
eminently  serviceable  in  your  generations,  oh  labour  to  be  rich  in  grace  1 
It  is  not  he  that  hath  most  wit  in  his  head,  but  he  that  hath  most  grace 
in  his  heart,  that  is  most  fit  for  generation-work. 

[6.]  Sixthly,  A  rich  measure  of  grace  will  bear  out  your  souls  in 
several  cases,  therefore  labour  to  be  rich  in  grace. 

A  rich  measure  of  grace  will  bear  out  the  soul  under  great  means  of 
grace.  When  a  soul  is  spiritually  rich,  this  will  bear  him  out  under 
great  means.  Such  a  one  will  be  able  to  look  God  in  the  face  with  joy 
and  comfort ;  he  can  say.  It  is  true,  Lord,  I  have  had  more  means  than 
others,  and  lo !  I  am  grown  richer  than  others.  Thou  hast  taken  more 
pains  with  me  than  with  others,  and  lo !  I  bring  forth  more  fruit  than 
others :  my  live  talents  are  become  ten.  But  a  little  grace  will  not 
bear  men  out  under  much  means  of  grace.^ 

Again,  A  great  measure  of  grace  will  bear  the  soul  out  und-er  a  great 
name,  as  well  as  under  great  means.  For  a  man  to  have  a  great  name 
to  live,  and  yet  to  have  but  a  little  life,  is  a  stroke  of  strokes ;  to  be 
high  in  name  and  little  in  worth,  is  a  very  sad  and  sore  judgment.^  To 
have  a  name  to  be  an  eminent  Christian,  and  yet  to  be  poor  in  faith, 
in  love,  in  wisdom,  in  knowledge,  &c.,  is  the  greatest  unhappiness  in  the 
world.  This  stroke  is  upon  many  in  these  days.  But  that  which  is 
saddest  of  all  is  this,  they  feel  it  not,  they  observe  it  not.  But  now  he 
that  is  rich  in  grace,  hath  something  within  that  will  bear  him  out  un- 
der a  great  name  in  the  world. 

Again,  a  great  measure  of  grace  will  bear  you  out  under  great  desires, 
as  well  as  under  a  great  name.  A  man  that  is  rich  in  grace  may  ask 
what  he  pleases ;  he  is  one  much  in  with  God,  and  God  will  deny  him 
nothing.  The  best  of  the  best  is  for  this  man;  he  may  have  anything; 
he  may  have  everything  that  heaven  affordeth.  He  is  able  to  improve 
much,  and  therefore  he  may  ask  much,  and  have  it. 

It  was  a  sweet  saying  of  one,  *  0  Lord,  I  never  come  to  thee  but  by 
thee,  I  never  go  from  thee  without  thee.'* 

8ozomen  saith  of  ApoUonius,  that  he  never  asked  anything  of  God, 
but  he  had  it. 

And  another,  speaking  of  Luther,  saith.  Hie  homo  potuit  apud  Deum 
quod  voluit,  He  could  have  what  he  would  of  God.     Rich  men  may 

•  As  those  that  were  called  among  the  Romans  the  Curii  [Curiatii  ? — G.]  and  Fabiicii, 
&c. 

'^  The  golden  name  of  Christians  is  but  as  an  ornament  to  swine,  saith  Salvian.  He 
means  such  as  content  tliemselves  with  an  empty  name. 

3  Quid  libi  prodest  nomm,  ubi  res  non  invcnitur  ?  what  will  the  name  avail,  whore  the 
thing  is  wanting  ?  saith  Augustine.  *  Ambrose,  as  htfore. — G. 


172  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

long  for  this  and  that,  and  have  it ;  they  have  something  that  will  fetch 
it,  but  poor  men  may  not.  Oh  !  now,  who  would  not  labour  as  for  life, 
to  be  rich  in  grace  ?  Oh  !  this  will  bear  you  out  under  great  means,  and 
under  great  names,  and  under  great  desires ;  therefore,  rest  not  satis- 
fied with  a  little  grace. 

But  then,  seventhly  and  lastly, 

[7.]  Souls  rich  in  grace  are  the  honour  of  Christ,  and  the  glory  of 
Christianity. 

As  it  is  the  glory  of  the  stock,  when  the  grafts  grow  and  thrive  in  it, 
even  so  it  is  the  glory  of  Christ  when  those  that  are  ingrafted  into  him 
thrive  and  grow.  This  declares  to  all  the  world  that  Christ  keeps  a 
good  house,  and  that  he  doth  not  feed  his  children  with  trash,  but  with 
the  choicest  delicates ;  that  he  is  open-handed  and  free-hearted.  It  is 
the  glory  of  the  father  when  the  child  grows  rich  under  him,  and  the 
glory  of  the  master  when  the  servant  grows  rich  under  him ;  and  so  it 
is  the  glory  of  Christ  when  poor  souls  grow  rich  under  him.  The  name 
of  Christ,  and  the  honour  of  Christ,  is  kept  up  in  the  world  by  souls 
that  are  rich  in  grace.  They  are  the  persons  that  make  others  think 
well  and  speak  well  of  Christ.  You  may  at  your  leisure  read  the  first 
and  second  epistles  to  the  Thessalonians,  and  there  you  shall  see  what 
an  honour  they  were  to  the  Lord  Jesus  and  the  gospel  who  abounded 
in  spiritual  riches.  Such  Christians  that  are  like  to  Pharaoh's  lean  kine 
reproach  three  at  once,  God,  the  gospel,  and  their  teachers :  and  this 
age  is  full  of  such  Christians.  It  is  your  greatest  work  in  this  world  to 
keep  up  the  honour  and  the  glory  of  the  Lord,  and  this  you  can  never, 
you  will  never  do,  except  you  labour  to  be  rich  in  grace.  Let  others 
*  labour  for  the  meat  that  perisheth,'  do  you  *  labour  for  that  which  en- 
dureth  to  everlasting  life.'  When  you  come  to  die,  and  when  you  come 
to  make  up  your  accounts,  it  will  never  be  a  giief,  but  a  joy  unto  you, 
that  you  have  made  it  your  greatest  business  and  work  in  this  world  to 
be  rich  in  grace. 

But  here  you  may  say, 

What  means  must  we  use  that  we  may  grow  rich  in  grace  ? 

1  answer : 

[] .]  First,  Let  no  discouragements  take  you  off  from  labouring  to 
be  enriched  with  spiritual  riches. 

A  soul  that  would  be  spiritually  rich  must  be  divinely  resolved,  that 
come  what  can  come,  he  will  hold  on  in  the  use  of  means,  that  he 
may  be  rich  with  the  riches  of  Christ.  Joshua  was  resolute  in  this 
point :  '  Choose  you  whom  ye  will  serve,  whether  the  Lord,  or  those  other 
gods  that  your  fathers  served  ;  as  for  my  part,  I  and  my  house  will  serve 
the  Lord,'  Josh.  xxiv.  15  ;  Luke  xiii.  24?,  '  Strive  to  enter  in  at  the  strait 
gate."*  The  Greek  word  signifies,  '  to  strive  with  all  your  might,'  with 
all  j^our  strength,  to  strive  even  to  an  agony,  to  strive  as  they  did  for 
the  garlands  in  the  Olympic  games.  The  word  here  used  seemeth  to 
allude  to  their  striving  for  the  garland,  where  they  put  out  themselves 
to  the  utmost.  So  in  John  vi.  27,  *  Labour  not  for  the  meat  that  perish- 
eth, but  for  that  which  endures  to  everlasting  life,  which  the  Son  of 
man  shall  give  unto  you,  for  him  hath  God  the  Father  sealed.'^ 

'  Many  men  are  like  Cicero,  not  thoroughly  resolved  in  themselves  whether  to  follow 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  173 

I  have  read  of  one  that  did  not  fear  what  he  did,  nor  what  he  suffered, 
so  he  might  get  riches :  '  For,'  saith  he,  *  men  do  not  ask  how  good  one 
is,  or  how  gracious  one  is,  but  how  rich  one  is.'  Oh,  sirs !  the  day  is 
a-coming  when  God  will  ask  how  rich  your  souls  are  ;  how  rich  you  are, 
in  faith,  in  wisdom,  in  knowledge,  in  fear,  &c.  ;  and  not  how  rich 
you  are  in  money,  or  in  jewels,  or  in  land,  or  in  goods,  but  how  rich  are 
you  in  grace ;  which  should  provoke  your  souls  to  strive  in  the  face  of 
all  discouragements  to  be  rich  in  grace.  What  will  not  the  merchant 
do,  and  the  mariner  do,  for  these  temporal  riches  ?  Oh  the  dangers,  the 
hazards,  the  tempests,  the  storms,  the  deaths  that  they  run  through  for 
earthly  riches,  which  are  never  without  their  sting  !  And  shall  not 
Christians  labour  in  the  face  of  all  oppositions  after  spiritual  riches  ? 

It  is  reported  of  Nevessan  the  lawyer,  that  he  should  say,  '  He  that 
will  not  venture  his  body  can  never  be  valiant ;  and  he  that  will  not 
venture  his  soul  will  never  be  rich.'  I  am  sure  that  man  that  will 
not  venture,  and  venture  hard,  in  the  face  of  all  discouragements,  to 
be  spiritually  rich,  will  never  be  rich.  He  may  be  good  in  the  main,  and 
may  go  to  heaven  in  a  storm  ;  but  he  will  never  be  rich  in  spirituals,  that 
will  not  venture  himself  to  the  uttermost  for  the  gain  of  spiritual  riches. 

[2.]  Secondly,  Be  fixed  under  a  Christ-exalting  and  a  soul-enrich- 
ing ministry. 

Under  that  man's  ministry  that  makes  it  his  business ;  not  a  thing 
by  the  by  but  his  business,  his  work ;  not  to  tickle  the  ear,  to  please 
the  fancy,  but  to  enrich  the  soul,  to  win  the  soul,  and  to  build  up  the 
soul.  2  Tim.  iv.  3,  *  For  the  time  will  come  when  they  will  not  endure 
sound  doctrine,  but  after  their  own  lusts  shall  they  heap  up  to  them- 
selves teachers,  having  itching  ears.'  This  age,  yea,  this  city  is  full  of 
such  slight,  light,  mad  souls,  that  love  nor  like  nothing  but  what  is 
empty  and  airy. 

Jimius  confesses,  '  that  in  his  time  there  was  one  confessed  that  he  had 
spent  above  twenty  years  in  trying  religions,'  pretending  that  scripture, 
*  Try  all  things,  and  hold  fast  that  which  is  good.'  It  is  sad  to  see  how 
many  in  our  days,  under  pretences  of  angelical  attainments,  make  it 
their  business  to  enrich  men's  heads  with  high,  empty,  airy  notions, 
instead  of  enriching  their  souls  with  saving  truths.  If  these  are  not 
strangers  to  that  wisdom  that  is  from  above,  I  know  nothing.  Prov.  xi. 
30,  '  He  that  winneth  souls  is  wise.'  The  Hebrew  word  signifies  to 
catch  souls,  by  using  all  art  and  industry,  as  fowlers  do  to  take  birds.^ 
No  wisdom  to  that  which  wins  souls  from  sin  and  the  world,  and  that 
wins  souls  to  Christ  and  holiness  ;  no  teaching  to  this.  Remember  this, 
you  will  never  be  rich  in  grace  if  you  care  not  who  you  hear,  nor  what 
you  hear.  That  Christ  that  commands  you  to  take  heed  how  you  hear, 
commands  you  also  to  take  heed  who  you  hear.  And  every  soul  won 
to  God  is  a  new  pearl  added  to  a  minister's  crown,  &c. 

But  you  will  say  to  me. 

How  should  we  know  which  is  a  soul-enriching  ministry,  that  so 
we  may  luait  on  it  ? 

Potnpey  or  Csesar ;  the  riches  of  this  world,  or  the  riches  of  another  world :  such  men 
will  still  be  poor. 

'  np?"!.  He  is  the  best  preacher,  not  that  tickles  the  ear,  but  that  breaks  the 
heart.     iVon  qui  aurcs  Utigerit,  std  qui  cor  pupugerit. 


174  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  Ill  8. 

Take  these  three  rules: 

(1.)  First,  Judge  not  of  the  soul-enrichiug  ministry  by  the  voice  of 
the  minister,  nor  by  the  multitude  of  hearers  that  follow  him,  nor  by  his 
affected  tone,  nor  by  his  rhetoric  and  flashes  of  wit,  but  by  the  holiness, 
heavenliness,  and  spiritualness  of  the  matter.* 

Some  preachers  affect  rhetorical  strains ;  they  seek  abstrusities,  and 
love  to  hover  and  soar  aloft  in  dark  and  cloudy  expressions,  and  so  shoot 
their  arrows  over  their  hearers'  heads,  instead  of  bettering  their  hearers' 
hearts.  Gay  things  in  a  sermon  are  only  for  men  to  gaze  upon  and 
admire.  What  are  high  strains  and  flashes  of  wit,  new-minted  words 
and  phrases,  but  like  gay  weeds  and  blue  bottles  to  the  good  corn. 
Truth  is  like  Solomon's  spouse,  'all  glorious  within.'^  She  is  most 
beautiful  when  most  naked,  as  Adam  was  in  innocency. 

The  oracle  would  have  Philip  of  Macedon  use  silver  lances  in  winning 
an  impregnable  fort,  &c.,  but  ministers  must  not  use  golden  sentences, 
strong  lines,  froth  of  wit.  It  is  iron,  and  not  gold,  that  killeth  in  the 
encounter.  It  is  the  steel  sword,  not  the  golden,  that  winneth  the 
field,  &c' 

(2.)  Secondly,  Judge  of  it  by  its  revealing  the  whole  counsel  of  God, 
the  whole  will  of  God,  revealed  in  his  word.* 

In  Acts  XX.  27,  '  For  I  have  not  shunned  to  declare  unto  you  the 
whole  counsel  of  God.'  Some  there  be  that  make  it  their  business  only 
to  advance  the  glory  of  Christ,  and  to  darken  the  glory  of  the  Father ; 
and  some  cry  up  the  glory  of  the  Father,  and  yet  cast  clouds  and  dark- 
ness upon  the  glory  of  the  Son.  And  what  dirt  and  scorn  is  cast  upon  the 
Spirit  by  many  vain,  blasphemous  persons  in  these  times  is  notoriously 
known  ;  and  if  these  men  are  not  far  from  declaring  the  whole  counsel 
and  will  of  God,  I  know  nothing.  Christ  must  be  held  out  in  all  his 
offices,  for  they  all  tend  to  the  enriching  of  poor  souls,  to  the  adding  of 
pearls  to  a  Christian's  crown.  And  clearly  it  is  sad  to  consider  how 
many  there  be  that  cry  up  one  office  and  cry  down  another.  Some  cry 
up  the  kingly  office  of  Christ,  but  mind  not  his  prophetical  office ;  and 
some  cry  up  his  prophetical  office,  but  trample  upon  his  kingly  office ; 
and  some  cry  up  both  his  kingly  and  prophetical  office,  and  yet  make  < 
slight  of  his  priestly  office.  Christians,  fix  yourselves  under  his  ministry 
that  gives  the  Father  his  due,  the  Son  his  due,  and  the  Spirit  his  due  ; 
that  makes  it  his  business  to  open  the  treasures  and  the  riches  both  of 
the  one  and  the  other,  and  to  declare  to  you  the  whole  will  of  God  ; 
for  many  there  be  that  'withhold  the  word  in  unrighteousness,'  Rom.i.  ]  8, 
and  that  will  only  acquaint  you  with  some  parts  of  the  will  of  God,  and 
keep  you  ignorant  of  other  parts,  whose  condemnation  will  be  great  as 
well  as  just,  &c.^ 

(3.)  Thirdly  and  lastly.  You  may  judge  of  it  by  its  coming  nearest 
to  the  ministry  of  Christ  and  his  apostles.* 

•  Many  ministers  are  like  empty  orators,  that  have  a  flood  of  words  and  a  drop  of 
matter.     Malta  loquuntur  et  nihil  dicunl. 

2  Rather  The  Spouse,  the  Church:  Ps.  xlv.  13.— G. 

3  Non  quaiiia  eloquentia  sed  quanta  evidentia. — Augustine. 

*  Optimvs  texfuarius  est  optimus  theologus. 

•■*  Aglutaidas  never  relished  any  dish  better  than  what  was  distasted  by  others.  So  do 
serious  experienced  saints  relish  those  very  truths  best  that  such  corrupt  teachers  dis- 
taste most,  &c. 

fi  Melius  est  ut  nos  rqtrehendant  grammatici  quam  ut  non  intelligant  populi. — Augustine  in 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  175 

There  was  no  ministry  so  soul-enriching  and  soul-winning  as  the 
ministry  of  Christ  and  his  apostles.  Oh  !  the  thousands  that  were 
brought  in  by  one  exercise  !  Let  men  of  frothy  wits  say  what  they 
will,  there  are  no  preachers  to  these  that  come  nearest  in  their  ministry 
to  Christ  and  his  apostles.  Loquamur  verba  Scripturce,  &c.,  said  that 
incomparable  man,  Peter  Hamus  :  '  Let  us  speak  the  very  words  of 
Scripture,  for  so  did  Christ,  the  prophets,  and  apostles  ;  let  us  make  use 
of  the  language  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  and  for  ever  abominate  those  that 
profanely  disdain  at  the  stately  plainness  of  God's  blessed  book,  and 
that  think  to  correct  the  divine  wisdom  and  eloquence  with  their  own 
infancy^  and  sophistry.'  God's  holy  things  ought  to  be  handled  with 
fear  and  reverence,  rather  than  with  wit  and  dalliance.  Spiritual  nice- 
ness  is  tlie  next  degree  to  unfaithfulness.  No  ministry  to  that  which 
comes  nearest  to  Christ,  &c. 

[3.]  The  third  direction  is  this.  If  ever  you  would  he  rich  in  grace, 
be  rich  in  spirituals,  then  keep  humble. 

Ps.  XXV.  9,  '  The  humble  he  will  teach  his  way,  and  the  meek  he  will 
guide  in  judgment ;  James  iv.  6,  *  He  resists  the  proud,  but  gives  grace 
to  the  humble.'  '  He  sets  himself  in  battle-array  against  the  proud,' 
as  the  Greek  hath  it,  *  but  he  gives  grace  to  the  humble.'  He  pours 
grace  into  an  humble  soul,  as  men  do  water  or  wine  into  an  empty  ves- 
sel. Of  all  souls,  humble  souls  do  most  prize  spiritual  riches  ;  of  all 
souls  they  most  improve  spiritual  riches ;  of  all  souls  they  are  most  fear- 
ful of  losing  spiritual  riches.  In  Isa.  Ivii.  15,  'Thus  saith  the  high 
and  lofty  One  that  inhabiteth  eternity,  With  him  will  I  dwell  that  is  of 
an  humble  and  contrite  spirit,  and  that  trembles  at  my  word.'  The 
word  there  rendered  dwell  is  an  Hebrew  participle,  and  signifies  dwell- 
ing. *  Thus  saith  the  high  and  lofty  One,  dwelling  with  him  that  is  of 
an  humble  and  a  contrite  spirit.'  Humility,  as  the  violet,  though  the 
lowest,  yet  is  the  sweetest  of  flowers.  The  word  notes  to  us  thus  much : 
that  God  will  not  dwell  with  an  humble  man  as  a  wayfaring  man 
dwells  with  his  relations,  a  few  nights  and  away.  Dwelling  notes  a 
constant  and  hot  a  transient  act  of  God.  God  will  for  ever  keep  house 
with  the  humble  soul ;  when  once  they  meet,  they  never  part.  There 
is  no  such  way  to  be  rich  as  to  be  poor  and  low  in  our  own  eyes.  This 
is  the  way  to  enjoy  his  company  in  whom  all  treasures  are. 

[4.]  Fourthly,  Improve  the  riches  that  you  have. 

Improve  that  knowledge,  that  faith,  that  light,  that  love  that  you 
have.  Those  that  had  two  talents  did,  by  the  improvement  of  them, 
gain  other  two  ;  and  those  that  had  five  did,  by  the  improvement  of 
them,  gain  ten :  Prov.  x.  4,  *  The  diligent  hand  maketh  rich.'  Take 
hold  of  all  opportunities  to  enrich  your  souls  with  spiritual  riches.  Men 
will  easily,  readily,  greedily,  and  unweariedly  close  with  all  opportunities 
wherein  they  may  get  earthly  riches  ;  and  why  should  not  you  be  as 
diligent  in  taking  hold  of  all  opportunities  to  enrich  your  precious 
souls  1^     Is  not  the  soul  more  than  raiment,  more  than  friends,  more 

Psalm  cxxxviii.     Christ  and  his  apostles  laboured  to  make  men^  Christians,  and  not 
critics.  ^  =  '  Childishness':  another  Shakesperean  word:  Titus  Andron.,  v.  8. — G. 

2  The  Radix,  Harats,  is  to  dig  in  the  ground  for  gold,  whence  Harats,  fine  precious 
gold,  Prov.  xvi.  16  [}*1"inD].  The  neglect  of  golden,  soul-enriching  opportunities,  hath 
made  many  a  man's  life  a  hell,  yea,  many  a  courtier  s  life  a  hell,  as  all  know  that  know 
anything  of  history,  &c. 


176  ,  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

than  relations,  more  than  life,  yea,  more  than  all  ?  And  why,  then,  do 
you  not  labour  to  enrich  your  souls  ?  Thou  wert  better  have  a  rich 
soul  under  a  thread-bare  coat,  than  a  thread-bare  soul  under  a  silk  or 
golden  coat.  If  he  be  a  monster  among  men,  that  makes  liberal  pro- 
vision for  his  servant,  his  slave,  and  starves  his  wife,  what  a  monster  is 
he  that  makes  much  provision  for  his  baser  part,  but  none  for  his  noble 
part !  A  slothful  heart  in  the  things  of  God  is  a  heavy  judgment : 
Prov.  iv.  31,  '  I  went  by  the  field  of  the  slothful,  and  by  the  vineyard  of 
the  man  void  of  understanding,'  or,  as  the  Hebrew  hath  it,  '  the  man 
that  had  no  heart,'  that  is,  to  make  use  of  his  vineyard,  '  and  lo,  it  was 
all  grown  over  with  thorns  and  nettles,'  &c.  Oh  the  lusts,  the  wicked- 
nesses that  will  overgrow  slothful,  sluggish  souls  !  Spiritual  sluggards 
are  subject  to  the  saddest  strokes.  Oh  the  deadly  sins,  the  deadly 
temptations,  the  deadly  judgments  that  spiritual  sluggards  will  unavoid- 
ably fall  under !  None  such  an  enemy  to  himself,  none  such  a  friend 
to  Satan,  as  the  spiritual  sluggard.  It  is  sad  to  think  how  the  riches  of 
Christ,  the  riches  of  consolation,  the  riches  of  justification,  the  riches  of 
glorification,  are  brought  to  many  men's  doors,  and  yet  they  have  no 
hearts  to  embrace  them  :  no  judgment  to  this.  '  Wherefore  is  there  a 
price  in  the  hand  of  a  fool  to  get  wisdom,  seeing  he  hath  no  heart  to 
it  ?'  Prov,  xvii.  16.  Well,  spiritual  sluggards,  remember  this,  when 
your  consciences  are  awakened,  this  will  be  a  sword  in  your  souls,  that 
you  might  have  been  saved,  you  might  have  been  spiritually  and 
eternally  enriched,  but  that  you  have  trifled  and  fooled  away  golden 
opportunities  and  your  own  salvation.  Wealth  without  wit  is  ill  be- 
stowed, &c. 

[5.]  Fiftlily,  Walk  uprightly,  holily,  and  obedientiaUy. 

If  ever  you  would  be  spiritually  rich,  look  to  your  walking.  It  is 
not  the  knowing  soul,  nor  the  talking  soul,  but  the  close-walking  soul, 
the  obediential  soul,  that  is  in  spirituals  the  richest  soul.  Others  may  be 
rich  in  notions,  but  none  so  rich  in  spiritual  experiences,  and  in  all  holy 
and  heavenly  grace,  as  close-walking  Christians  :  Ps.  Ixxxiv.  11,  '  The 
Lord  will  give  grace  and  glory,  and  no  good  thing  will  he  withhold  from 
them  that  walk  uprightly.'  The  upright  walker  shall  be  both  of  his 
court  and  council ;  he  shall  know  anything,  and  have  anything.  In 
John  xiv.  21,  23,  compared,  '  If  any  man  love  me,  he  will  keep  my  com- 
mandments, and  I  will  love  him,  and  my  Father  will  love  him.'  What 
then  ?  *  We  will  make  our  abode  with  him,  and  will  manifest  ourselves 
to  him.'  Certainly  they  cannot  be  poor  that  enjoy  such  guests  as  these; 
they  must  needs  be  full  who  enjoy  them  that  are  fulness  itself.  God 
and  Christ  are  overflowing  fountains,  and  holy  souls  find  it  so.^ 

[6.]  Sixthly,  Be  most  in  with  those  souls  that  are  spiritually 
rich. 

Let  them  be  thy  choicest  companions,  that  have  made  Christ  their 
chiefest  companion.  Do  not  so  much  eye  the  outsides  of  men,  as  their 
inside  ;  look  most  to  their  internal  worth.  Many  persons  have  an  eye 
upon  the  external  garb  of  this  and  that  professor,  but  give  me  a  Chris- 
tian that  minds  the  internal  worth  of  persons,  that  makes  such  as  are 

'  When  my  heart  is  coldest  and  highest,  I  present  God  to  my  soul  under  the  notions 
of  his  gi  eatness ;  but  when  my  heart  is  loose  and  fearing,  then  I  present  God  to  my  soul 
under  the  notion  of  his  goodness,  saith  Luther. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  177 

most  filled  with  the  fulness  of  God,  to  be  his  choicest  and  his  chiefest 
companions. 

In  Ps.  xvi.  2,  '  My  goodness  extends  not  to  thee,'  says  Dtivid, — now 
David  speaks  in  the  person  of  Christ, — '  but  to  the  saints  that  are  in  the 
earth,  in  whom  is  all  my  delight/  There  are  saints,  and  there  are  ex- 
cellent saints.  Now  those  are  the  excellent  ones,  that  are  most  rich  in 
heavenly  treasures ;  and  these  you  should  make  your  bosom  friends, 
your  choicest  companions  :  Prov.  xiii.  20,  '  He  that  walketh  with  wise 
men  shall  be  wise ;'  that  is,  he  shall  be  more  wise,  more  humble,  more 
holy,  and  more  abounding  in  all  spiritual  riches.  The  word  ll^n  that  is 
rendered  walk,  is  an  Hebrew  participle,  and  signifies  walking  ;  to  note 
to  us,  that  it  is  not  he  that  talks  with  the  wise,  nor  he  that  commends 
the  wise,  nor  he  that  takes  a  step  or  two  or  three  with  the  wise,  that 
shall  be  wise,  but  he  that  gives  up  himself  to  the  society  and  company 
of  the  wise,  that  shall  be  more  and  more  wise,  more  and  more  gracious, 
more  and  more  holy.  He  that  cometh  where  sweet  spices  or  ointments 
are  stirring,  doth  carry  away  some  of  the  sweet  savour,  though  himself 
think  not  of  it.  The  spouse's  lips  drop  as  the  honeycomb  :  Cant.  iv. 
10,  'The  tongue  of  the  just  is  as  choice  silver,'  he  scatters  pearls,  he 
throws  abroad  treasures  where  he  comes  :  Prov.  xv.  7,  *  The  lips  of  the 
wise  disperse  knowledge.'  The  Hebrew  word,  ^1^'',  from  zarah,  is 
a  metaphor  from  scattering  abroad  with  a  fan,  or  from  seedsmen 
scattering  abroad  of  their  seed  in  the  furrows  of  the  field.  They  scatter 
their  light,  their  love,  their  experiences,  among  those  with  whom  they 
converse,  as  seedsmen  scatter  their  seed  in  the  field.  Christ  says  his 
spouse's  lips  are  like  a  thread  of  scarlet,  with  talking  of  nothing  but  a 
crucified  Christ ;  and  thin  like  a  thread,  not  swelled  with  other  vain 
and  wicked  discourses. 

The  old  zealous  primitive  Christians  did  so  frequently,  and  so  effect- 
ually mind  and  talk  of  the  kingdom  of  heaven,  and  of  the  riches  and 
glory  of  that  state,  that  the  Ethnicks^  began  to  be  a  little  jealous  that 
they  affected  the  Roman  empire  ;  when,  alas,^  their  ambition  was  of  an- 
other and  a  nobler  nature  :  Ps.  xxxvii.  30,  '  The  mouth  of  the  righteous 
speaketh  wisdom,  and  his  tongue  talketh  judgment ;  for  the  law  of  the 
Lord  is  in  his  heart.'  Prov.  xii.  28,  '  The  tongue  of  the  wise  is  health, 
his  tongue  is  a  tree  of  life,  whose  leaves  are  medicinable.'  No  way 
to  be  rich  in  spirituals,  like  being  much  in  with  precious  souls,  whose 
tongues  drop  marrow  and  fatness.^ 

Utterance  is  a  gift ;  and  dumb  Christians  are  blameworthy,  as  well 
as  dumb  ministers.  We  should  all  strive  to  a  holy  ability  and  dexterity  of 
savoury  discourse.  If  Christ  should  come  to  many  of  us,  as  he  did  to 
his  two  disciples,  in  that  last  of  Luke,  on  Sabbath  days  and  other  times, 
and  say  to  us,  as  to  them,  '  What  manner  of  communication  had  ye,' 
or  have  ye  ?  oh  !  with  what  paleness  of  face  and  sadness  of  counte- 
nance should  we  look  !  The  story  of  Loquere  ut  videam  is  common. 
*  Speak  that  I  may  see  thee,'  said  Socrates  to  a  fair  boy.     When  the 

»  '  Heathen.'— G. 

'  See  Index,  sub  voce,  for  other  similar  uses  of  this  interjection. — G. 

3  The  very  heathen  man  could  say,  Quando  sapiens  loquitur  aurea  animi  aperit,  when 
a  wise  man  speaketh,  he  openeth  the  rich  treasures  and  wardrobe  of  his  mind,  &c. 
[Seneca  often  in  the  Epistolcs. — G.] 

VOL.  III.  M 


178  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

heart  is  full,  it  ot^erfloweth  in  speech.  We  know  metals  by  their  tink- 
ling, and  men  by  their  talking.  Happy  was  that  tongue  in  the  primi- 
tive time,  that  could  sound  out  Aliquid  Davidicum,  anything  of  David's 
doing  ;  but  much  more  happy  is  he  that  speaks  out  Aliquid  Christi, 
anything  of  Christ  from  experience. 

[7.]  Seventhly,  If  ever  you  would  be  spiritually  rich,  then  take  heed 
of  eating  or  tasting  of  forbidden  fruit. 

This  stripped  Adam  of  his  crown,  of  his  jewels,  and  of  all  his  rich 
ornaments  in  a  moment,  and  of  the  richest  and  greatest  prince  that 
ever  breathed,  made  him  the  miserablest  beggar  that  ever  lived.  Oh 
take  heed  of  tasting  of  poison,  of  eating  of  poison.  A  person  that  hath 
ate  poison  will  not  thrive,  let  him  take  never  such  wholesome  food. 
The  choicest  cordials  will  not  increase  blood,  and  spirits,  and  strength, 
but  the  man  will  throw  up  all.  Poor  souls  that  have  been  tasting  of 
poison,  are  apt  to  find  fault  with  the  minister,  and  sometimes  with  this 
and  that,  as  the  cause  of  their  not  growing  rich  in  spirituals ;  when, 
alas  !  the  only  cause  is  their  eating  of  poison.  These  are  like  him  in 
Seneca,  that  having  a  thorn  in  his  foot,  complained  of  the  roughness  of 
the  way  as  the  cause  of  his  limping.  Sirs,  it  is  not  the  minister,  nor 
this,  nor  that,  but  your  eating  of  forbidden  fruit,  that  is  the  cause  of 
your  non-thriving  in  spirituals.  Sin  is  the  soul's  sickness,  and  nothing 
more  prejudices  growth  than  sickness.  Christians,  if  ever  you  would 
be  trees,  not  only  having  the  leaves  of  honour,  but  the  fruits  of  righteous- 
ness, then  take  heed  of  sin,  abhor  it  more  than  hell,  and  fly  from  it  as 
from  your  deadliest  enemy,  &c.^ 

[8.]  Eighthly  and  lastly.  Be  sure  to  maintain  a  secret  trade  with  God. 

You  know  many  men  come  to  be  very  rich  in  the  world  by  a  secret 
trade.  Though  many  have  not  such  an  open  trade  as  others,  yet  they 
have  a  more  secret  trade,  and  by  that  they  gain  very  great  estates,  as 
many  of  you  here  in  London  know  by  experience.^  Take  it,  friends,  as 
an  experienced  truth,  there  is  no  such  way  under  heaven,  to  be  rich  in 
spirituals,  as  by  driving  of  a  secret  trade  heaven-wards.  It  is  true,  it  is 
good  for  men  to  attend  upon  this,  and  that,  and  the  other  public  ad- 
ministration ;  for  in  all  divine  administrations  God  shews  his  beauty 
and  glory.  Ay,  but  such  that  delight  to  be  more  upon  the  public  stage 
than  in  the  closet,  will  never  be  rich  in  spirituals.  They  may  grow  rich 
in  notions,  but  they  will  never  grow  rich  in  gracious  experiences,  Ps. 
Ixiii.  '2,  3  ;  xxvii,  4  ;  Ixxxiv.  10.  Oh  !  God  loves  to  see  a  poor  Chris- 
tian shut  his  closet  door,  Mat.  vi.  6,  and  then  to  open  his  bosom,  and 
pour  out  his  soul  before  him.  God  hath  very  choice  discoveries  for 
souls  that  drive  a  secret  trade  ;  the  best  wine,  the  best  dainties  and 
delicates  are  for  such.  And  I  never  knew  any  man  or  woman  in  my 
life,  that  was  richer  in  grace,  than  those  that  were  much  in  closet  com- 
munion with  God.  Much  of  a  Christian's  spiritual  strength  lies  in 
secret  prayer,  as  Samson's  did  in  his  hair.  Nothing  charms  Satan^  and 
weakens  sin,  like  this.  Secret  prayers  are  the  pillars  of  smoke  wherein 
the  soul  ascendeth  to  God,  out  of  the  wilderness  of  this  world.     Secret 

^  Becanns  tells  tis  that  the  tree  of  knowledge  was  ficus  indica,  and  that  it  bears  many 
leaves  and  little  fruit ;  and  so  it  with  those  that  taste  and  eat  of  forbidden  fruit,  &c. 

2  Acts  X.  3,  9  ;  Gen.  xxi.  33  ;  Exod.  xiv.  15  ;  1  Sam.  i.  13. 

3  ♦  Charms  away? — G. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  179 

prayer  is  Jacob's  ladder,  where  you  have  God  descending  down  into  the 
soul,  and  the  soul  sweetl}^  ascending  up  to  God.  No  way  to  be  rich 
in  spirituals  like  this.  Therefore  be  sure  to  maintain  and  keep  up  a 
secret  trade  between  God  and  your  own  souls.  Oh  let  God  hear  often 
of  you  in  secret.  In  Cant.  vii.  5,  '  The  king  is  held  in  the  galleries.' 
Oh  !  in  the  secret  walks,  the  soul  meets  with  the  King  of  glory.  Oh  ! 
there  the  soul  hangs  upon  Christ ;  there  the  soul  sucks  and  draws 
virtue  from  Christ ;  and  there  the  soul  is  made  rich  with  the  riches  of 
Christ.  Christ  is  much  delighted  and  taken  with  secret  prayer  :  Cant, 
ii.  14,  '  0  my  dove,  that  art  in  the  clefts  of  the  rock,  in  the  secret  places 
of  the  stairs,'  that  art  got  into  a  hole,  *  let  me  hear  thy  voice,  let  me 
see  thy  countenance  ;  for  sweet  is  thy  voice,  and  thy  countenance  is 
lovely.'  Secret  meals  are  very  fattening,  and  secret  duties  are  very  soul- 
enriching.  Christians!  set  more  close  to  this  work,  and  if  you  don't 
thrive  by  it,  trust  me  no  more.  And  thus  you  see  by  what  means  you 
may  grow  rich  in  grace. 

3.  The  third  thing  I  propounded  to  speak  to  was, 

Some  propositions  concerning  spiritual  riche&. 

And  the  first  proposition  is  this  r 

[1.]  All  that  do  grow  rich  in  grace,  they  grow  rich  gradually. 

The  sun  ascends  by  degrees;  children,  plants,  and  trees  they  grow  by  de- 
grees; so  do  saints  in  spirituals  It  is  true,  many  men  as  to  temporals, 
by  the  death  of  some  friend,  or  this  and  that  providence,  grow  rich  in  a 
sudden  ;  but  no  soul  that  is  rich  in  grace,  but  grows  rich  gradually.  In 
Prov.  iv.  18,  'But  the  path  of  the  just  is  like  the  shining  light,  that  shin- 
eth  more  and  more  unto  the  perfect  day.'  He  proceeds  from  virtue  to 
virtue,  until  at  length  he  shines  like  the  sun  in  its  strength.  And  so 
in  Mai.  iv.  2,  '  Unto  you  that  fear  my  name,  shall  the  Sun  of  righteous- 
ness arise  with  healing  under  his  wings,  and  you  shall  go  forth  and  grow 
up  as  calves  of  the  stall.'  Hosea  xiv.  5-7,  '  I  will  be  as  the  dew  unto 
Israel,  he  shall  grow  as  the  lily,  and  cast  forth  his  roots  as  Lebanon, 
His  branches  shall  spread,  and  his  beauty  shall  be  as  the  olive  tree,  and 
his  smell  as  Lebanan.  They  that  dwell  under  his  shadow  shall  return, 
they  shall  revive  as  the  corn,  and  grow  as  the  vine  ;  the  scent  thereof 
shall  be  as  the  wine  of  Lebanon.'  I  shall  but  hint  at  this  now,  because 
I  have  spoken  more  fully  to  it  already,  &c. 

The  second  proposition  is  this  : 

[2.]  Few  or  none  are  rich  in  all  graces. 

There  are  some  men  in  the  world  that  are  generally  rich,  that  are 
rich  in  money,  and  rich  in  land,  and  rich  in  goods,  but  where  you  have 
one  man  that  is  a  general  rich  man  in  this  sense,  you  have  ten  thou- 
sand that  are  only  rich  in  some  one  thing,  as  money,  goods,  or  land,  &c.  ; 
so  it  is  here.  It  is  a  hard  thing,  if  possible,  to  find  a  soul  that  is  gene- 
rally rich ;  that  is  rich  in  every  grace,  that  is  rich  in  faith,  and  rich 
in  wisdom,  and  rich  in  love,  and  rich  in  patience,  &c.  Abraham  was 
rich  in  faith,  and  Job  was  rich  in  patience,  and  Moses  was  rich  in  meek- 
ness, and  David  was  rich  in  zeal,  &c ;  bat  none  of  these  were  rich  in 
every  grace.  And  so  in  these  days  you  may  find  one  Christian  rich  in 
one  grace,  and  another  Christian  rich  in  another  grace  ;  but  where  will 
you  find  a  Christian  that  is  rich  in  every  grace  ?  Such  that  are  rich  in 
some  graces,  are  yet  very  defective  and  lame  in  other  graces.     The  saints 


]  80  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

once  at  Rome  were  richer  in  wisdom  and  knowledge  than  the  saints 
at  Thessalonica,  Rom.  xv.  14;  and  the  saints  at  Thessalonica  were 
richer  in  faith,  love,  patience,  and  charity  than  the  saints  at  Rome,  1 
Thes.  i.  4,  ii.  8,  compared  with  2  Epistle  i.  3,  4.  It  is  with  saints  as 
with  sinners,  one  sinner  excels  in  one  vice,  another  in  another  vice  ;  so 
one  saint  excels  in  one  virtue,  and  another  in  another  virtue.  One  is 
rich  in  joy,  in  comfort ;  another  is  rich  in  humility,  in  fear  ;  another  in 
faith  and  hope  ;  and  another  in  love,^  &c.     And  mark  how  this  arises. 

It  arises  sometimes  from  hence,  that  every  saint  doth  endeavour  to 
excel  in  that  particular  grace  that  is  most  opposite  to  his  bosom  sin. 
Now  every  saint's  bosom  sin  is  not  alike.  It  may  be  pride  is  one  man's 
bosom  sin,  and  hypocrisy  another  man's  bosom  sin,  &c.  Now  it  is  the 
very  nature  of  grace  to  make  a  man  strive  to  be  most  eminent  in  that 
particular  grace  that  is  most  opposite  to  his  bosom  sin,  and  upon  this 
account  it  comes  to  pass  that  one  is  rich  in  one  grace,  and  another  in 
another. 

Again,  some  saints  have  frequent  occasions  to  act  and  exercise  such  and 
such  graces.  Others  are  called  forth  to  act  such  and  such  graces.  Now 
the  more  any  particular  grace  is  acted,  the  more  that  particular  grace  is 
increased.  Frequent  acts  cause  a  stronger  habit  both  in  graces  and  in 
sins.  If  all  Christians  should  be  rich  in  all  graces,  what  difference 
would  there  be  between  heaven  and  earth  ?  What  need  would  there 
be  of  ordinances  ?  And  when  would  Christians  long  to  be  dissolved, 
and  to  be  with  Christ  ?  &c. 

The  third  proposition  is  this : 

[3.]  Sovls  TYiay  he  rich  in  grace,  and  yet  not  know  it,  and  yet  not 
perceive  it. 

The  child  is  heir  to  a  crown,  to  a  great  estate,  but  knows  it  not. 
Moses  his  face  did  shine,  and  others  saw  it,  but  he  perceived  it  not. 
So  many  a  precious  soul  is  rich  in  grace,  and  others  see  it,  and  know  it, 
and  bless  God  for  it,  and  yet  the  poor  soul  perceives  it  not.  Now 
because  a  right  understanding  of  this  may  be  of  much  use  to  some 
sadded,  dejected  souls,  I  will  shew  you  how  this  comes  to  pass. 

First,  Sometimes  it  arises  from  the  soul's  strong  desires  of  spiri- 
tual riches.  The  strength  of  the  souFs  desires  after  spiritual  riches, 
doth  often  take  away  the  very  sense  of  growing  spiritually  rich.  Many 
covetous  men's  desires  are  so  strongly  carried  forth  after  earthly  riches, 
that  though  they  do  grow  rich,  yet  they  cannot  perceive  it,  they  cannot 
believe  it.  It  is  just  so  with  many  a  precious  Christian  ;  his  desires 
after  spiritual  riches  are  so  strong,  that  they  take  away  the  very  sense 
of  his  growing  rich  in  spirituals,^  Many  Christians  have  much  worth 
within  them,  but  they  see  it  not.  It  was  a  good  man  that  said,  *  The 
Lord  was  in  this  place,  and  I  knew  it  not,'  &c.  Gen.  xxviii. 

Again,  This  ariseth  sometimes  from  mens  neglecting  the  casting  up 
of  their  accounts.  Many  men  thrive  and  grow  rich,  and  yet  by  neglect- 
ing the  casting  up  of  their  accounts,  they  cannot  tell  whether  they  go 

^  No  grace  grows  alike  in  all  saints.  In  the  parable  some  brought  forth  thirty,  some 
sixty,  some  a  hundred,  &c. 

'  The  sun  ascends  without  perception  ;  and  so  it  is  often  in  this  supernatural  motion, 
&c.  The  Greeks  derive  their  word  for  desire  from  a  root  that  signifies  to  burn.  Now,  if 
one  should  heap  never  so  much  fuel  upon  a  fire,  it  would  not  quench  it,  but  kindle  it  the 
more.     The  application  is  easy. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  181 

backward  or  forward.  It  is  so  with  many  precious  souls ;  they  grow 
in  grace  and  are  spiritually  rich,  and  yet  by  neglecting  the  casting  up  of 
their  accounts,  they  do  not  know  it,  they  do  not  perceive  it,  &c.^ 

Again,  sometimes  it  ariseth  from  the  soul's  too  frequent  casting  up 
of  its  accounts.  If  a  man  should  cast  up  his  accounts  once  a  week 
or  once  a  month,  he  may  not  be  able  to  discern  that  he  doth  grow  rich, 
and  yet  he  may  grow  rich  ;  but  let  him  compare  one  year  with  another, 
and  he  shall  clearly  see  that  he  doth  grow  rich.  Though  most  are  to 
blame  for  neglecting  the  casting  up  of  their  accounts,  yet  some  are  to 
blame  for  casting  up  their  accounts  too  often  ;  for  by  this  means  they 
are  not  able  to  perceive  their  spiritual  growth,  and  so  can  neither  be  so 
thankful  nor  so  cheerful  as  otherwise  they  might.  Let  there  be  some 
considerable  time  between  your  casting  up  of  your  accounts,  and  you 
will  find  that  your  souls  are  grown  rich,  though  for  the  present  you 
perceive  it  not. 

But  then  again,  sometimes  it  ariseth  from  the  souVs  mistake  in  cast- 
ing up  of  its  accounts.  The  soul  many  times  mistakes  ;  it  is  in  a 
hurry  ;  and  there  the  soul  puts  down  ten  for  a  hundred,  and  a  hundred 
for  a  thousand  ;  as  sometimes  men  in  hurrying  over  their  books,  they 
slip  and  make  mistakes,  and  so  they  think  there  is  nothing  got,  whereas 
indeed  there  is  much  got,  and  in  the  close  they  shall  find  it  so.  Many 
a  gracious  soul  many  times  takes  a  great  deal  of  grace  for  a  little,  and 
little  grace  for  no  grace.  Look,  as  hypocrites  put  down  their  counters 
for  gold,  their  pence  for  pounds,  and  always  prize  themselves  above  the 
market ;  so  sincere  souls  do  often  put  down  their  pounds  for  pence,  their 
thousands  for  hundreds,  and  still  prize  themselves  below  the  market,  &c. 

The  fourth  proposition  is  this  : 

[4.]  That  saints  "must  endeavour  to  grow  rich  in  every  grace. 

It  is  the  duty  and  the  glory  of  saints  to  endeavour  to  grow  rich  in 
every  grace.  So  the  apostle,  2  Pet.  i.  5  to  12,  'Add  to  your  faith  virtue, 
and  to  virtue  knowledge,'  &c.  It  is  the  work,  the  duty,  the  glory  of 
a  Christian,  to  be  still  adding  one  grace  to  another.  So  in  chap.  iii.  18, 
'  Grow  in  grace,'  that  is,  in  every  grace,  but  more  particularly  and 
specially,  '  in  the  knowledge  of  our  Lord  and  Saviour  Jesus  Christ' 

'  Grow  in  grace.'  That  is,  grow  in  love,  in  faith,  in  humility,  in  meek- 
ness, &c.,  but  especially  '  in  the  knowledge  of  our  Lord  and  Saviour,' 
because  there  was  a  special  remedy  against  the  error  of  those  times, 
&c.  All  the  graces  that  be  in  you  are  weak  ;  and  therefore  you  had 
need  to  strengthen  them  all. 

Again,  You  have  the  seeds  of  all  corruptions  in  you  ;  and  is  there 
any  way  to  be  rid  of  every  sin,  but  by  thriving  in  every  grace  ? 

Again,  You  have  opportunities  as  well  to  thrive  in  one  grace  as  in 
another. 

Again,  Will  not  Satan  labour  might  and  main  to  keep  your  graces  low 
and  poor  ?  You  never  hurt  him  less,  you  never  honour  Christ  less,  you 
never  mind  your  work  less,  than  when  grace  is  weak  and  low.  This  he 
knows,  and  therefore  labours  to  keep  your  graces  down. 

^  Seneca  reports  of  one  Sextiu3,  that  he  would  every  night  ask  himself  these  three  ques- 
tions :  (1).  What  evil  hast  thou  healed  this  day?  (2).  What  vice  hast  thoa  stood  against 
this  day?  (3).  In  what  part  art  thou  bettered  this  day?  &c.  [Quintus  Sextius  :  in  Seneca, 
Epist.  lix.  6  ;  Ixiii.  11,  13  ;  Ixiv.  2  ;  xcviii.  13  ;  cviii.  17  ;  and  De  Ira,  ii.  36  ;  iii.  36. — G.] 


182  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

Again,  are  not  you  liable  to  several  changes  in  this  world  ?  As,  to 
be  rich  and  poor,  exalted  and  abased  ;  now  to  relieve,  and  anon  to  be 
relieved  ;  now  well,  and  anon  sick  ;  now  strong,  and  anon  weak  ;  now 
in  storms,  and  anon  in  calms  ;  now  tempted,  and  anon  delivered  ;  now 
in  one  condition,  and  anon  in  another  condition  ;  now  up,  now  down  ; 
now  forward,  now  backward,  &c.  Now  pray  tell  me,  doth  not  the 
several  changes  and  variety  of  providences  that  we  meet  with  in  this 
world  bespeak  us  to  be  rich,  not  in  some,  but  in  every  grace  ?  Don't 
a  state  of  prosperity  bespeak  a  man  to  be  rich  in  wisdom,  rich  in 
humility,  rich  in  love,  and  rich  in  compassion,  that  his  heart  may  be 
kept  close  to  God  in  that  state,  and  that  he  may  do  nothing  unworthy 
of  God,  who  hath  done  so  much  for  him  ?  And  now,  when  God  shall 
change  the  manner  of  his  administrations  towards  such  a  man,  when 
God  shall  put  out  his  candle,  pull  off  his  robes,  and  clothe  him  with 
rags,  and  set  him  with  Job  upon  the  dunghill,  don't  this  condition  be- 
speak much  patience,  much  contentation,  much  self-denial,  much  faith  ? 
How  else  will  this  man  bravely  bear  up,  when  God  shall  write  such 
bitter  things  against  him,  and  pass  the  sentence  of  death  upon  his 
nearest  and  his  dearest  comforts  ?  If  a  man  be  not  rich  in  one  grace 
as  well  as  in  another,  when  God  shall  bring  changes  upon  him,  and 
pour  him  from  vessel  to  vessel,  his  life  will  be  a  burden,  a  hell  to  him, 

Again,  consider  this  :  growing  rich  in  every  grace  renders  a  Christian 
most  lovely  and  beautiful  in  grace  ;  as  a  growth  in  all  the  members  of 
the  body  renders  the  body  most  lovely  and  beautiful.  The  peifect 
beauty  and  comeliness  of  the  body  rises  from  the  symmetry  and  fitness 
of  the  parts  unto  one  another.  Rare  and  excellent  beauty  ariseth  from 
the  comeliness  of  all  parts.  If  one  part  be  comely,  and  another  de- 
formed, then  there  is  no  perfect  beauty.  Well,  remember  this,  there 
is  no  such  beautiful  Christians  as  those  that  grow  rich  in  every  grace. 
Oh  !  they  are  the  beauty  of  Christ,  the  honour  of  the  gospel,  and  the 
glory  of  Christianity. 

And  so  much  for  the  fourth  proposition,  viz.  that  we  must  labour  to 
be  rich  in  every  grace. 

The  fifth  proposition  that  I  shall  lay  down  is  this, 

[5.]  Saints  should  labour  mnore  particularly  and  more  especially 
to  be  rich  in  faith. 

Though  it  is  of  concernment  to  believers  to  be  rich  in  every  grace, 
yet  it  is  of  special  concernment  to  them  to  labour  to  be  rich  in  this 
particular  grace  of  faith.  In  Jude,  ver.  20,  '  Building  up  yourselves  in 
your  most  holy  faith.'  It  is  not  enough  to  have  faith,  but  they  must 
build  up  themselves  and  build  up  one  another  *  in  their  most  holy 
faith.' 

There  are  three  things  that  the  Scripture  calls  precious  : 

First,  The  blood  of  Christ :  in  1  Peter  i,  19,  'Ye  are  not  redeemed 
with  silver  and  gold,  but  with  the  precious  blood  of  Christ,  as  of  a  lamb 
without  blemish,  and  without  spot.' 

^  Whilst  Pompey  prospered,  and  Rome  flourished,  Cato  stoutly  held  and  defended  a 
divine  providence ;  but  when  he  saw  Pompey  overthrown  by  Caesar,  his  body  cast  upon 
the  shore  without  honour  of  burial,  and  himself  exposed  to  the  danger  of  Caesar's  army, 
he  changed  his  opinion,  denying  that  there  was  a  divine  providence,  but  that  all  things 
fell  out  by  chance,  &c. 


EpH.  hi.  8.]  EICHES  OF  CHRIST.  183 

Secondly,  The  promises  are  called  precious  promises  :  2  Peter  i.  4, 
*  Whereby  are  given  unto  us  exceeding  great  and  precious  promises.' 

Thirdly,  Faith  is  called  precious  faith  :  ver.  1,  '  Unto  them  that  have 
obtained  like  precious  faith  with  us.'  Now,  though  it  be  of  concern- 
ment for  every  saint  to  labour  to  be  rich  in  every  grace,  yet  more 
especially  and  more  particularly  to  be  rich  in  this  grace  of  faith  ;  and 
that  upon  this  account  that  follows  : 

(1.)  First,  Because  that  faith  is  the  souV 8  greatest  and  choicest  fence, 
against  her  worst  enemies. 

In  Eph.  vi.  16,  *  Above  all,  take  the  shield  of  faith,  whereby  ye  may 
be  able  to  quench  all  the  fiery  darts  of  the  wicked.' 

'  Above  all,  take  the  shield  of  faith.'  Neglect  no  part  of  your  armour, 
but  above  all,  look  to  the  shield  of  faith.  Look,  what  the  shield  is  to 
the  body,  that  is  faith  to  a  believer's  soul,  to  secure  him  against  all  the 
fierce  and  fiery  darts  of  Satan. 

It  is  reported  of  Satan  that  he  should  say  of  a  learned  man,  Tu  me 
semper  vincis,  '  Thou  dost  always  overcome  me.  When  I  would  exalt 
and  promote  thee,  thou  keepest  thyself  in  humility  ;  and  when  I  would 
throw  thee  down,  thou  liftest  thyself  up  in  assurance  of  faith.'  Faith 
makes  the  soul  invincible  ;  it  makes  the  soul  victorious  ;  it  leads  cap- 
tivity captive  ;  it  binds  Satan  in  chains  ;  it  foils  him  at  every  weapon  ; 
and  therefore,  above  all,  labour  to  be  rich  in  faith. 

(2.)  Secondly,  Growth  in  faith  will  advance  the  growth  of  all  other 
graces. 

All  other  graces  thrive  in  the  soul  as  faith  thrives,  and  no  otherwise. 
Be  rich  in  this,  and  be  rich  in  all ;  be  weak  in  this,  and  be  weak  in  all. 
Faith  hath  an  influence  upon  all  other  graces  ;  it  is  like  a  silver  thread 
that  runs  through  a  chain  of  pearls  ;  it  puts  strength  and  vivacity  into 
all  other  graces.  You  never  knew  a  man  rich  in  any  grace  that  hath 
not  been  rich  in  faith.  Every  man's  hope,  joy,  fear,  love,  humility, 
patience,  &c.,  is  as  his  faith  is.  In  Heb.  xi.  1,  '  Faith  is  the  evidence 
of  things  not  seen,  and  the  substance  of  things  hoped  for  ;'  or,  as  the 
Greek  hath  it,  I'rroaractg,  '  the  substance  of  things  hoped  for.'  All  other 
graces  live  upon  faith's  cost  and  charge.  Look,  what  the  breast  is  to 
the  child,  wings  to  the  bird,  oil  to  the  wheels,  and  the  soul  to  the  body, 
that  is  faith  to  all  other  graces  in  the  soul  of  man. 

It  is  reported  of  the  crystal,  that  it  hath  such  a  virtue  in  it,  that  the 
very  touching  of  it  quickens  other  stones,  and  puts  a  lustre  and  a 
beauty  upon  them.  I  am  sure  it  is  true  of  faith.  There  is  such  a 
divine  virtue  and  power  in  faith,  that  it  will  quicken  and  cast  a  lustre 
and  a  beauty  upon  all  other  graces  in  the  soul  of  man  ;  and  therefore 
you  should  labour  as  for  life  to  be  rich  in  this  particular  grace  of  faith. 

(3.)  Thirdly,  consider  this.  Of  all  graces  that  be  in  the  soul  of  man, 
faith  is  the  most  useful  grace  ;  and  therefore  you  should,  above  all, 
labour  to  be  rich  in  faith. 

It  is  a  Christian's  right  eye,  without  which  he  cannot  see  for  Christ ; 
it  is  his  right  hand,  without  which  he  cannot  do  for  Christ ;  it  is  his 
tongue,  without  which  he  cannot  speak  for  Christ ;  it  is  his  very  vital 
spirits,  without  which  he  cannot  act  for  Christ. 

Some  say  that  king  Midas  bad  obtained  of  the  gods,  that  whatsoever 
he  touched  should  be  turned  into  gold.     I  am  sure  that  whatever  faith 


184j  the  unsearchable  [Eph.  III.  8. 

toucheth,  it  turneth  into  gold,  that  is,  into  our  good.  If  our  faith 
touches  the  promises,  it  turns  them  into  our  good  ;  whatsoever  faith  lays 
its  hand  upon,  it  appropriates  to  itself,  and  turns  it  into  the  soul's  good. 
If  faith  looks  upon  God,  it  saith,  '  This  God  is  my  God  for  ever  and 
ever,  and  he  shall  be  my  guide  unto  death,'  Ps.  Ixiii.  1  ;  Ixxxix.  26. 
When  it  looks  upon  Christ,  it  saith  with  Thomas,  '  My  Lord,  and  my 
God,'  John  xx.  28.  When  it  looks  upon  the  crown  of  righteousness,  it 
saith,  '  This  crown  is  laid  up  for  me,'  &c.  Faith  is  bread  to  nourish  us, 
and  wine  to  cheer  us,  and  a  cordial  to  strengthen  us.  Faith  is  a  sword 
to  defend  us,  a  guide  to  direct  us,  a  staff  to  support  us,  a  plaster  to  heal 
us,  a  friend  to  comfort  us,  and  a  golden  key  to  open  heaven  unto  us. 
Faith,  of  all  graces,  is  the  most  useful  grace  to  the  soul  of  man.  '  With- 
out faith  it  is  impossible  to  please  God,'  Heb.  xi.  6  ;  iv.  2.  All  those 
services  are  lost,  wherein  faith  hath  not  a  hand.  You  may  write  loss 
upon  all  the  prayers  you  make,  and  upon  all  the  sermons  you  hear,  and 
upon  all  the  tears  you  shed,  and  upon  all  the  alms  you  give,  if  all  be 
not  managed  by  a  hand  of  faith. 

(4.)  Fourthly,  You  should  labour  above  all  to  be  rich  in  faith,  he- 
cause  faith  is  that  pHncely  grace  that  Christ  is  most  taken  with. 

Cant.  iv.  -9,  '  Thou  hast  ravished  my  heart,  my  sister,  my  spouse,  thou 
hast  ravished  my  heart  with  one  of  thine  eyes,' — that  is,  with  that  piercing 
eye  of  faith  that  looks  up  to  my  mercy-seat — '  with  one  chain  of  thy  neck.' 

There  are  two  things  that  with  open  mouth  speak  out  Christ  to  be 
most  taken  with  the  faith  of  his  people. 

And  the  first  is,  his  uncrowning  himself  to  crown  his  people's  faith. 
Christ  doth  often  take  the  crown  off  his  own  head,  and  put  it  upon  the 
head  of  faith.  Witness  such  passages  as  these,  which  are  frequent  in 
Scripture,  '  Thy  faith  hath  healed  thee,'  '  Thy  faith  hath  saved  thee,' 
'  Thy  faith  hath  made  thee  whole,'  &c.  Christ  takes  the  crown  off  his 
own  head,  and  puts  it  upon  the  head  of  faith  ;  and  no  wonder  ;  for  of  all 
graces,  faith  takes  the  crown  off  a  man's  own  head,  and  puts  it  on  the 
head  of  Christ.  Man  naturally  is  apt  to  crown  anything  but  Christ. 
He  is  apt  to  crown  his  prayers,  and  crown  his  desires,  and  crown  his 
endeavours,  &c.  Oh  but  now  faith  acts  like  a  king  of  kings,  and  un- 
crowns all,  and  sets  the  crown  upon  the  head  of  Christ. 

And  then  a  second  thing  that  speaks  out  Christ  to  be  most  taken 
with  the  grace  of  faith  is  this,  that  he  overlooks  all  other  graces  in 
comparison  of  faith,  as  you  may  see  in  the  Canaanite  woman.  Mat.  xv. 
21-29.  The  poor  woman  shews  a  great  deal  of  compassion,  a  great  deal 
of  wisdom,  a  great  deal  of  humility,  a  great  deal  of  love,  and  a  great 
deal  of  self-denial ;  but  in  the  close  saith  Christ,  *  O  woman,  great  is 
thy  faith,  be  it  unto  thee  even  as  thou  wilt.'  He  doth  not  say,  O  woman, 
great  is  thy  love ;  nor,  O  woman,  great  is  thy  wisdom ;  nor,  0  woman, 
great  is  thy  humility  and  self-denial ;  nor,  O  woman,  great  is  thy 
patience,  &c. ;  but,  '  O  woman,  great  is  thy  faith  !  He  overlooks,  as  it 
were,  all  other  graces,  and  sets  the  crown  upon  the  head  of  faith  :  '  O 
woman,  great  is  thy  faith.'  So  in  Mark  v.,  the  woman  that  had  a  bloody 
issue  twelve  years  comes  to  Christ  for  cure,  and  in  the  close  of  the  story 
saith  Christ  to  her,  '  Woman,  thy  faith  hath  made  thee  whole.'  He 
doth  not  say.  Woman,  thy  pressing  hard  to  come  to  me  hath  made  thee 
whole,  but  '  Thj  faith  hath  made  thee  whole.'   He  doth  not  say.  Woman, 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  185 

thy  earnest  desires  and  endeavours  to  be  made  whole  hath  made  thee 
whole,  but  'Thy  faith  hath  made  thee  whole.'  He  doth  not  say, 
Woman,  thy  fear  and  trembling  hath  made  thee  whole,  but  '  Thy  faith 
hath  made  thee  whole,'  &c.  So  in  Luke  vii.  50,  '  Thy  faith  hath  saved 
thee,  go  in  peace.'  Though  she  wept  much,  and  loved  much,  yet  Christ 
doth  not  say,  Thy  tears  have  saved  thee,  thy  sorrow  hath  saved  thee. 
He  doth  not  say.  Thy  humility,  thy  charity  hath  saved  thee ;  but  '  O 
woman,  thy  faith  hath  saved  thee.'  Christ  overlooks  all  other  graces, 
as  it  were,  and  casts  a  lovely^  eye  upon  the  grace  of  faith,  &c. 

(5.)  And  then  again,  in  the  fifth  place,  you  should  above  all  labour 
to  be  rich  in  faith,  because  of  all  graces  in  the  soul  of  man,  faith  makes 
him  most  lively  and  active. 

There  is  no  grace,  I  say,  no  grace  in  the  soul  of  man,  that  makes  him 
so  full  of  life  and  action,  as  the  grace  of  faith.  Faith  is  the  primum, 
mobile,  the  first  pin,  the  first  wheel  that  moves  all  the  golden  wheels 
of  obedience.  In  Heb.  xi.,  you  read  what  those  worthies  did  ;  they  left 
their  country,  their  kindred,  upon  a  bare  command  of  God.  Faith  hath 
Eachel's  eye,  but  Leah's  womb  ;  it  makes  souls  very  fruitful  in  ways  of 
well-doing.  Faith  is  as  the  spring  in  the  watch,  that  moves  the  wheels. 
Not  a  grace  stirs  till  faith  sets  it  on  work.  Faith  is  like  Solomon's 
virtuous  woman,  that  sets  all  her  maidens  on  w^ork.  Faith  sets  joy  on 
work.  'Abraham  desired  to  see  my  day,  and  saw  it,  and  rejoiced.' 
Faith  sets  love  on  work  ;  it  works  by  love ;  Gal.  v.  6,  it  sets  hope  on 
work,  Rom.  viii.  24,  25  ;  it  sets  godly  sorrow  at  work,  Zech.  xii.  10  ;  it 
sets  patience  at  work.  I  believe  that  God  is  wise  and  loving,  and  what 
he  doth  is  out  of  some  noble  design  to  do  my  soul  good ;  this  spins  out 
patience.  Faith  fits  a  man  to  do,  to  suffer,  to  wait,  to  walk,  &c.,  there- 
fore labour  above  all  to  be  rich  in  faith. ^ 

(6.)  And  then,  sixthly,  of  all  graces,  faith  renders  the  soul  most  in- 
vincible ;  and  therefore  you  should  labour  above  all  to  be  rich  in  faith. 

It  renders  the  soul  invincible  and  unconquerable  under  all  the  hard- 
ships and  trials  it  meets  with  in  this  world.  Faith  makes  a  man 
triumph  in  all  the  changes  and  conditions  of  this  life.  It  was  their 
faith  that  made  them  invincible  in  Dan.  iii.  16-18,  '  O  Nebuchadnezzar, 
we  are  not  careful  to  answer  thee  in  this  matter.  If  it  be  so,  our  God, 
whom  we  serve,  is  able  to  deliver  us  from  the  burning  fiery  furnace ; 
and  he  will  deliver  us  out  of  thine  hand,  O  king.  But  if  not,  be  it 
known  unto  thee,  0  king,  that  we  will  not  serve  thy  gods,  nor  worship 
thy  golden  image  which  thou  hast  set  up.'  And  so  Daniel's  f^iith  stopped 
the  lion's  mouth ;  it  made  him  too  strong  for  the  strongest  beasts  of 
prey,  as  you  may  see  in  Dan.  vi.  Though  the  enemies  of  a  believer 
are  very  subtle,  strong,  and  experienced,  and  though  the  battle  be  hot 
and  long,  yet  a  soul  rich  in  faith  shall  have  the  day.  Faith  will  render 
a  believer  victorious  in  the  close :  '  He  may  suffer  death,'  as  Cyprian 
said  to  Cornelius,  '  but  never  conquest.'^*     Faith  renders  the  soul  a  lion, 

^  '  Loving.' — Ed. 

2  True  faith  puts  forth  itself  into  vital  operations.  Ferdinand  of  Arragon  believed  the 
story  told  liim  by  Columbus,  and  therefore  he  furnished  him  with  ships,  and  got  the 
West  Indies  by  his  faith  in  the  undertaking.  But  Henry  the  7th  of  England  believed  him 
not,  and  therefore  trusted  him  not  with  shipping,  and  so  lost  all  the  purchase  of  that 
faith  ;  which  purchase  may  yet  be  recovered,  if  the  Lord  shall  please  to  own  and  crown 
the  just  and  noble  design  of  General  Pen,  &c.       ^  Mori  posse,  vinci  non  posse. — Cyprian. 


186  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

a  rock,  &c.  It  is  reported  of  some  of  the  Roman  and  Grecian  captains, 
that  they  proved  always  victorious,  and  were  never  beaten  by  any. 
Such  is  the  nature  of  faith  ;  it  renders  a  soul  victorious  in  all  engage- 
ments. In  all  engagements  faith  brings  a  man  bravely  off,  and  enables 
him  to  keep  his  ground,  and  triumph.^  Ps.  Ix.  6-10,  '  God  hath  spoken 
in  his  holiness  ;  I  will  rejoice  :  I  will  divide  Shechem,  and  mete  out  the 
valley  of  Succoth.  Gilead  is  mine,  and  Manasseh  is  mine ;  Ephraim 
also  is  the  strength  of  my  head  ;  Judah  is  my  lawgiver ;  Moab  is  my 
wash-pot ;  over  Edom  will  I  cast  out  my  shoe :  Philistia,  triumph  thou 
because  of  me,'  &a  It  is  not  great  resolutions,  nor  big  words,  nor  high 
looks,  but  faith,  that  will  make  a  man  stand  fast  in  shaking  times.  No 
hand  can  put  the  garland  upon  a  Christian,  but  the  hand  of  faith,  &c. 
Faith  alters  the  tenses,  it  puts  the  future  into  the  present ;  Gilead  is 
mine,  &c. 

(7.)  And  then,  seventhly,  above  all  labour  to  be  rich  in  faith,  because 
Satan  will  labour  might  and  Tuiain  to  weaken  your  faith. 

Oh  !  the  great  design  of  Satan  is  not  so  much  to  weaken  you  in  ex- 
ternals, as  it  is  to  weaken  you  in  internals.  Satan  can  be  contented 
that  men  should  have  their  heads  full  of  notions,  and  their  mouths  full 
of  religion,  and  their  bags  full  of  gold,  and  their  chests  full  of  silver, 
and  their  shops  full  of  wares,  so  their  souls  be  either  void  of  faith,  or  but 
poor  and  low  in  faith.  Satan's  greatest  plot  is  to  weaken  the  faith  of 
Christians.  Luke  xxii.  31,  32,  '  And  the  Lord  said,  Simon,  Simon,  be- 
hold, Satan  hath  desired  to  have  you,  that  he  may  sift  you  as  wheat : 
but  I  have  prayed  for  thee,  that  thy  faith  fail  not.'  Satan  hath  an 
aching  tooth  at  thy  faith  ;  his  design  is  upon  that ;  he  will  labour  might 
and  main  to  weaken  that,  to  frustrate  that,  and  therefore  '  I  have  prayed 
that  thy  faith  fail  not.'  Satan  knows  that  nihil  retinet  qui  jidem 
perdidit. 

(8.)  And  then,  eighthly,  consider  this,  of  all  graces,  faith  contributes 
most  to  the  bringing  down  of  mercies  and  blessings  upon  yourselves 
and  friends;  and  therefore  you  should  above  all  labour  to  be  rich  in 
this  particular  grace  of  faith. 

Faith  contributes  to  the  bringing  down  of  blessings  upon  ourselves. 
In  Dan.  vi.  23,  '  Daniel  was  delivered/  saith  the  text,  '  because  he  be- 
lieved in  his  God.'  It  was  his  faith,  and  not  his  prayers ;  it  was  his 
faith,  and  not  his  tears ;  it  was  his  faith,  and  not  his  sighs  that  stopt 
the  lion's  mouths,  and  wrought  deliverance  for  him.  So  in  Ps.  xxvii.  13, 
*I  had  fainted  unless  I  had  believed  to  see  the  goodness  of  the  Lord  in 
the  land  of  the  living.'  So  in  2  Chron.  xx.  20,  '  Believe  in  the  Lord 
your  God,  so  shall  ye  be  established ;  believe  his  prophets,  so  shall  ye 
prosper,'  and  so  they  did.  That  is  a  very  famous  scripture  to  this  pur- 
pose, 2  Chron.  xiii.  15-17,  '  Then  the  men  of  Judah  gave  a  shout :  and 
as  the  men  of  Judah  shouted,  it  came  to  pass,  that  God  smote  Jeroboam, 
and  all  Israel,  before  Abijah  and  Judah.  And  the  children  of  Israel  fled 
before  Judah,  and  God  delivered  them  into  their  hands.  And  Abijah 
and  his  people  slew  with  a  great  slaughter  :  so  there  fell  down  slain  of 
Israel  five  hundred  thousand  chosen  men.'  Here  was  a  great  slaughter ; 
no  wars,  no  slaughters  comparable  to  those  the  Scripture  speaks  of 

^  As  may  be  fully  seen  in  the  Book  of  Martyrs,  and  in  Heb.  xi.  [Foxe  and  Clarke,  as 
before — G.] 


EpH.  III.  8.]  KICHES  OF  CHRIST.  187 

And  the  reason  is  rendered,  verse  18,  'Because  they  relied  upon  the 
Lord  God  of  their  fathers.'  Were  men  more  rich  in  faith,  they  would 
be  more  rich  in  other  blessings,  &c.  And  as  faith  is  the  only  way  to 
bring  down  a  blessing  upon  ourselves,  so  faith  is  the  only  way  to  bring 
down  blessings  upon  our  friends  and  relations.  Though  another  man 
cannot  be  saved  by  my  faith,  yet  he  may  be  blessed  with  many  blessings, 
upon  the  account  of  my  faith.  In  Mat.  xv.  22-29,  it  was  the  Canaan- 
itish  woman's  faith  that  brought  a  blessing  of  healing  upon  her  daughter. 
And  so  in  Mat.  viii.  6-14,  the  centurion's  faith  healed  his  servant  that 
was  sick  of  a  palsy,  '  and  from  that  very  hour  he  was  healed.'  The 
servant  got  well  by  his  master's  faith.  And  so  likewise  in  Mark  ix.,  the 
faith  of  the  father  prevailed  for  the  dispossessing  of  his  son,  '  If  thou 
canst  believe,'  saith  Christ,  '  all  things  are  possible.'  And  the  poor  man 
said  with  tears,  'Lord,  I  believe,  help  my  unbelief.'  And  presently  Christ 
charged  the  foul  spirit  to  come  out  of  him,  &c-  A  believing  husband, 
a  believing  wife,  a  believing  child,  or  a  believing  servant,  may  bring 
down,  by  the  actings  of  faith,  many  a  blessing  upon  their  relations. 
Faith  hath  a  happy  hand,  and  never  but  speeds  in  one  kind  or  another. 
It  hath  what  it  would,  either  in  money  or  money's  worth. 

Apollonius,  saith  Sozomen,  never  asked  anything  of  God,  either  for 
himself  or  his  friends,  but  he  had  it.  And  one  pointing  to  Luther  said, 
*  There  is  a  man  can  have  anything  of  God  that  he  will  ask.'  Faith 
hath  a  kind  of  omnipotency  in  it,  it  is  able  to  do  all  things,  &c. 

And  as  faith  brings  down  blessings  upon  our  own  heads  and  the  heads 
of  our  friends,  so  it  often  brings  down  wrath  upon  our  enemies.  There 
is  nothing  contributes  so  much  to  our  enemies'  ruin  as  faith  doth.  I  am 
confident  it  hath  neither  been  armies,  nor  navies,  nor  parliaments,  that 
have  had  the  chief  hand  in  bringing  down  the  proud  and  stout  enemies 
of  Christ  and  Zion,  in  this  and  other  nations,  but  the  faith  of  his  de- 
spised people.  One  enemy  may  stand  before  the  face  of  another,  but 
what  enemy  can  stand  before  the  face  and  power  of  faith '?  That  is  a 
remarkable  scripture,  Heb.  xi.  33,  '  Who  through  faith  subdued  king- 
doms, wrought  righteousness,  obtained  promises,  stopped  the  mouths  of 
lions,  quenched  the  violence  of  fire,  escaped  the  edge  of  the  sword,  out 
of  weakness  were  made  strong,  waxed  valiant  in  fight,  turned  to  flight 
the  armies  of  aliens.'  Other  means  were  used,  but  that  which  did  the 
work,  and  struck  all  dead,  was  faith.  Faith  engages  God  in  every  en- 
counter, and  who  can  stand  before  a  consuming  fire  ?^ 

Polybius,  speaking  of  Horatius  his  keeping  of  the  field  against  his 
enemies'  forces,  saith,  '  That  his  enemies  were  more  afraid  of  his  faith 
than  of  his  warlike  strength.'  And  truly  there  is  nothing  that  renders 
men  more  dreadful  to  an  understanding  enemy  than  their  faith.  Oh  ! 
it  is  brave  for  men  to  believe  down  the  power  of  darkness,  to  believe 
down  those  that  war  against  the  Lamb,  &c.  No  way  to  get  an  enemy 
down  like  this  ;  nor  no  way  to  keep  an  enemy  down  like  this  ;  no  way 
to  save  a  kingdom  like  this ;  nor  no  Avay  to  keep  a  kingdom  like  this. 
The  nation  is  beholden  to  none  so  much  as  to  believing  souls.  O  Eng- 
land !  England !  thou  hadst  long  before  this  been  a  prey  to  men  that 

1  Mary  Queen  of  Scots,  that  was  mother  to  king  James,  was  wont  to  say  that  she  feared 
Master  Knox's  prayers,  who  was  a  man  of  much  faith,  more  than  an  army  of  ten  thou- 
sand men. 


188  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EpH.  III.  8. 

delight  in  blood,  had  it  not  been  for  the  faith  of  the  worm  Jacob,  &c. 
Christians  !  as  you  would  have  Christ,  go  on  and  do  more  and  more 
for  England;  as  you  would  be  crowned  with  the  choicest  and  the  chiefest 
blessings,  and  as  you  would  have  vengeance  executed  upon  all  that  hate, 
that  wage  war  against  and  persecute  Christ  and  the  saints,  be  mighty 
in  believing. 

(9.)  Ninthly  and  lastly.  Faith  is  a  root  grace;  and  will  the  branches 
flourish  if  the  root  ivither  ? 

Oh  !  therefore,  water  this  root,  have  an  eye  to  this  root.  If  you  have 
a  choice  root  in  any  of  your  gardens,  oh  how  careful  are  you  of  it ! 
you  will  mind  it  and  water  it  and  look  to  it,  &c.  Well,  of  all  graces 
faith  is  the  root  grace,  and  if  this  die  you  will  find  your  graces  to  lan- 
guish. Your  hope,  love,  fear,  patience,  humility,  joy,  &c.,  can  never  out- 
live your  faith.  These  live  together  and  they  die  together ;  therefore, 
above  all,  labour  to  be  rich  in  faith,  for  this  is  a  root  grace,  and  if  this 
flourish  all  other  graces  will  flourish  ;  but  if  this  decay,  all  other  graces 
will  lose  their  strength,  beauty,  glory,  &c. 

And  thus  much  for  the  fifth  proposition.  We  come  now  to  the  sixth 
proposition,  and  that  is  this  : 

[().]  That  no  gracious  souls  do  at  all  times  alike  grow  and  thrive 
in  spiritual  riches. 

A  child  sometimes  shoots  up  more  in  a  month  than  he  doth  at  other 
times  in  many  months,  and  sometimes  more  in  a  year  than  he  does  after- 
wards in  many  years.  And  do  not  plants  and  trees  sometimes  shoot  up 
more  in  a  week  than  in  many,  &c.  So,  many  a  Christian  thrives  more, 
and  gets  more  spiritual  riches  in  one  month  than  in  many,  in  one  year 
than  in  many.  I  appeal  to  your  experiences,  Christians  !  don't  you  find 
it  so  ?  I  know  you  do.  To  cite  Scripture  to  prove  this  would  be  to  cast 
water  into  the  sea,  and  to  light  candles  to  see  the  sun  at  noon.  Sin  and 
Satan  do  sometimes  work  more  violently  and  more  strongly  in  the  souls 
of  saints  than  at  other  times.  Now,  when  sin  and  Satan  work  most, 
and  prevail  most,  then  grace  thrives  least.  As  the  life  of  grace  is  the 
death  of  sin,  and  the  growth  of  grace  the  decay  of  sin,  so  the  increase 
of  sin  is  the  decay  of  grace,  and  the  strengthening  of  sin  is  the  weaken- 
ing of  grace. 

Again,  No  saints  have  at  all  times  alike  gales  of  the  Spirit  of  God, 
and  therefore  they  do  not  grow  in  spiritual  riches  at  all  times  alike. 
No  ships  have  at  all  times  the  same  gales  of  wind,  &c.  A  man  thrives 
in  spiritual  riches  as  the  gales  of  the  Spirit  of  God  are  upon  him,  and  no 
otherwise.  When  the  Spirit  of  the  Lord  doth  blow  most  sweetly  and 
strongly  upon  his  heart,  then  his  graces  thrive  and  flourish  most,  then 
those  beds  of  spices  do  yield  the  most  fragrant  smell ;  but  when  the 
Spirit  of  the  Lord  doth  withdraw  and  withhold  his  influences,  how  doth 
the  strength  and  glory  of  grace  wither  and  decay  !  Latimer  said  of  the 
Spirit,  that  it  is  coming  and  going,  &c. 

The  herb  heliotropium  doth  turn  about,  and  open  and  shut,  accord- 
ing to  the  motion  of  the  sun ;  so  do  the  graces  of  the  saints  according 
to  the  internal  gales,  motions,  and  operations  of  the  Spirit,  &c. 

Again,  no  saints  have  at  all  times  the  like  external  advantages  and 
opportunities  of  growing  rich  in  spirituals.  They  have  not  the  word, 
it  may  be,  in  that  power  and  life  as  formerly;  or  it  may  be  they  enjoy 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  189 

not  the  communion  of  saints  as  formerly ;  or  if  they  do,  yet  perhaps 
those  that  have  formerly  been  as  fire  to  warm  and  inflame  them,  are 
now  become  water  to  cool  them,  and  deaden  them  ;  or  it  may  be  they 
have  not  those  advantages  for  closet  duties  as  formerly ;  or  it  may  be, 
the  course  of  nature  is  changed ;  and  if  so,  it  is  no  wonder  that  they 
thrive  not  in  spirituals  as  formerly.  When  children  have  not  as  good 
food,  and  as  good  lodging,  and  as  good  looking  after  as  at  other  times, 
no  wonder  if  they  thrive  not  as  at  other  times.  When  men  have  not 
the  same  advantages  and  opportunities  to  grow  rich  in  the  world  as  for- 
merly, do  we  wonder  that  they  thrive  not  as  before  ?    Surely  no. 

And  sometimes  this  arises  from  the  breaking  of  some  bone  by  sin. 
David  found  it  so.  Many  a  man,  by  breaking  a  bone,  is  much  hindered 
from  thriving  in  the  world.  Oh  !  this  broken  arm,  this  broken  leg,  hath 
cost  me  many  a  fair  pound  which  otherwise  I  might  have  got.  Oh 
friends  !  sin  is  the  breaking  of  the  bones,  the  breaking  of  a  man's  peace 
and  communion  with  God ;  it  is  the  breaking  of  his  hope  and  confidence 
in  God ;  it  is  the  disjoining  of  a  man  from  God ;  and  so  it  hinders  a 
man's  spiritual  growth :  Isa.  lix.  1,  2 ;  chap.  Ixiv.  7  ;  Gal.  vi.  1.  Believe 
it.  Christians !  if  you  play  and  dally  with  sin,  if  you  fall  in  with  sin,  if 
you  make  one  with  sin,  you  will  never  grow  rich  in  spirituals.  Sin  will 
cause  such  a  breaking  of  bones,  as  will  undoubtedly  hinder  the  pros- 
perity of  your  souls.     And  so  much  for  the  sixth  proposition. 

[7.]  The  seventh  and  last  proposition  that  I.  shall  propound  is  this  : 
A  man  may  grow  rich  in  those  graces  that  are  Tnore  remote  from 
Christ,  that  are  less  conversant  about  Christ,  when  he  doth  not  grow 
rich  in  those  graces,  that,  as  special  favourites,  stand  always  at  the 
elbow  of  Christ,  and  are  most  busied  and  conversant  about  Christ. 
Let  me  open  it  thus  to  you : 

You  know  at  court  there  are  some  that  have  the  honour  to  attend 
always  at  the  prince's  elbow,  and  there  are  others  that  appertain  to  the 
same  prince,  but  are  more  remote  in  their  employments  for  him,  &c. 
So  in  the  soul,  there  are  some  graces  that  are  more  remote,  and  not  so 
conversant  about  the  person  of  Christ,  as  now  humility,  self-denial, 
patience,  meekness,  temperance,  sobriety,  and  the  like.  Now,  though 
these  graces  do  appertain  to  the  same  prince,  though  they  are  all  ser- 
vants of  the  Lord  Jesus,  yet  notwithstanding  tljey  are  more  remote,  and 
busied  about  other  objects  and  things.  Oh  !  but  now  faith  and  love  are 
choice  favourites,  that  always  stand  at  the  elbow  of  Christ.  Faith  and 
love  are  Christ's  greatest  favourites  in  heaven.  Now  I  say,  a  Christian 
may  grow  rich  in  those  graces  that  are  more  remote  from  Christ,  that 
are  less  conversant  about  the  person  of  ChriwSt,  when  he  doth  not  grow 
rich  in  those  particular  graces  that  are  most  active  about  the  person  of 
Christ.  He  may  grow  rich  in  humility,  in  self-denial,  in  meekness, 
in  temperance,  &c.,  when  he  doth  not  grow  up  in  joy  and  delight  and 
comfort,  &c.  The  tree  grows  downward,  when  it  doth  not  grow  upward ; 
so  a  soul  may  grow  rich  in  some  particular  graces,  when  he  doth  not 
grow  rich  in  other  graces.  He  may  grow  rich  in  those  graces  that  are 
more  remote  from  Christ,  when  he  doth  not  grow  rich  in  those  graces 
that  are  more  conversant  about  the  person  of  Christ.  Some  limbs  and 
branches  of  a  tree  grow  more  than  others. 

And  so  I  have  done  with  .these  propositions  ;  the  serious  minding  of 


1 90  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

them  may  prevent  many  objections,  and  to  many  give  satisfaction  in 
several  cases,  &c. 

The  fourth  and  last  thing  propounded  was,  to  give  you, 

4.  Some  notes  of  a  person  that  is  spiritually  rich. 

Clearly,  as  there  are  few  worldly  rich  men  to  those  that  are  poor,  so 
there  are  few  in  this  professing  age,  that  will  be  found  to  be  spiritually 
rich,  compared  with  the  multitude  of  Laodiceans  that  swarm  in  these 
times.  We  have  many  that  say  they  are  rich,  and  that  think  they  are 
rich,  when  the  truth  is  they  have  either  no  grace,  or  but  a  very  little 
grace ;  and  these  five  following  things  do  clearly  evidence  it,  &c. 

[1.]  First,  Rich  men  have  more  variety  of  objects  to  delight  them- 
selves with,  thoM  poor  m,en  have. 

They  have  houses  and  gardens,  and  lands  and  cattle,  and  silver  and 
gold,  and  jewels  and  pearls,  and  what  not,  to  delight  themselves  with. 
Oh!  but  poor  men  have  not  such  variety  of  objects  to  delight  themselves 
with,  as  ridi  men  have.  It  is  just  thus  in  spiritual  riches.  A  man 
that  is  rich  in  grace  hath  more  variety  of  spiritual  objects,  about  which 
his  soul  is  most  conversant,,  than  a  man  that  is  poor  in  grace.  He  hath 
more  objects  of  love,  of  joy,  of  delight,  of  content,  to  busy  and  exercise 
his  soul  about,  than  others  that  are  weak  in  grace:  2  Cor.  vi.  10, 
'  Enjoying  nothing,  and  yet  possessing  all  things.'  A  soul  rich  in  grace 
possesses  and  enjoys  all  things  in  Christ,  and  Christ  in  all  things. 
They  enjoy  all  good  in  him  who  is  the  chiefest  good,  who  is  the  spring 
and  fountain  of  good.  Joseph,  in  Pharaoh's  court,  had  more  variety  of 
objects  to  delight  him,  than  his  brethren  had  to  delight  themselves  in 
their  father's  house,  &c. 

I  have  spoken  largely  to  this  already,  and  therefore  shall  content 
myself  in  giving  you  this  hint.  It  stands  upon  you  to  inquire  what 
variety  of  objects  you  have  to  delight  your  souls  in.     But, 

[2.]  Secondly,  Rich  men  can  reach  to  those  things  that  poor  m,en 
cannot  reach  to. 

I  would  have  such  and  such  things,,  saith  the  poor  man,  as  the  rich 
man  hath ;  I  would  fare  as  he  fares,  and  wear  as  he  wears,  and  do  as 
he  doth,  but  my  stock  will  not  reach  it.  So  a  soul  that  is  spiritually 
rich  can  reach  to  those  things  that  one  that  is  poor  in  grace  cannot 
reach  unto.  He  can  reach  to  those  joys,  to  those  comforts,  and  to  those 
contents,  to  those  heights  of  communion  with  God,  and  to  those  visions 
and  apprehensions  of  God,  that  a  soul  that  is  not  rich  in  grace  cannot 
reach  to.  Oh  !  I  would  fain  have  that  comfort,  and  that  joy,  and  that 
peace,  and  that  communion  with  God,  and  those  visions  of  God,  that 
such  and  such  souls  have,  saith  a  poor  Christian ;  but  I  cannot ;  my 
stock  will  not  reach  to  it.  It  is  an  argument  a  man  is  grown  higher, 
when  he  can  reach  higher  than  he  could  before,  whether  it  be  a  beam 
or  a  pin,  &c.  So  it  is  an  argument,  that  a  soul  is  grown  rich  in  grace, 
when  he  can  reach  beyond  what  formerly  he  could  reach  unto ;  when 
he  can  reach  beyond  his  enlargements,  beyond  his  in-comes,  beyond  his 
comforts,  to  a  Christ ;  when  in  duty,  he  can  reach  above  duty ;  when 
in  an  ordinance,  he  can  reach  to  Christ,  above  the  ordinance ;  when 
under  enlargements,  he  can  reach  above  enlargements,  to  Jesus  Christ. 
Oh !  but  now  a  man  that  hath  but  a  little  grace,  he  can  rarely  reach 
above  his  duties,  above  ordinances,  above  enlargements,  to  Christ.     He 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  191 

is  very  apt  to  sit  down  and  warm  himself  with  the  sparks  of  his  own 
fire,  and  to  feed  upon  ashes,  as  the  prophet  speaks,  Isa.  1.  11,  xliv.  20, 
&c.  But  now,  a  soul  that  is  rich  in  grace,  says,  Well !  these  ordinances 
are  not  Christ,  these  refreshings  are  not  Christ,  these  meltings  are  not 
Christ,  these  enlargements  are  not  Christ ;  these  are  sweet,  but  he  is 
more  sweet ;  these  are  very  precious,  but  he  is  most  precious.  And 
thus  those  that  are  spiritually  rich  do  out-reach  all  others,  &c.^ 

[3.]  Thirdly,  Rich  men  can  loith  more  ease  and  pleasure  hear 
burdens,  than  poor  men  can. 

When  taxes  and  burdens  are  laid  upon  poor  men,  they  sigh,  and 
shrug,  and  complain  that  they  are  not  able  to  bear  them,  when  rich 
men  make  nothing  of  them.  So  souls  that  are  rich  in  grace  can  bear 
burdens  Avithout  a  burden  ;  they  can  bear  crosses,  afflictions,  and  per- 
secutions, with  abundance  of  ease,  cheerfulness,  and  eontentedness  of 
spirit ;  they  da  not  shrug,  nor  grumble,  but  bear  the  greatest  trials  with 
greatest  sweetness,  as  you  may  see  in  Acts  v.,  '  They  went  out  rejoicing 
that  they  were  counted  worthy  to  suffer  for  the  name  of  Jesus.'  So 
Paul,  2  Cor.  xii.  10,  'I  take  pleasure  in  infirmities,  in  reproaches,  in  ne- 
cessities, in  persecutions,  in  distresses, for  Christ's  sake.'  'I take  pleasure.' 
The  Greek  word  is  an  emphatical  word,  euSoxw ;  it  is  the  same  word 
that  God  the  Father  uses  to  express  his  infinite  delight  in  his  Son  : 
Mat.  iii.  17,  '  This  is  my  beloved  Son,  in  whom  I  am  well  pleased ;'  or, 
'  in  whom  I  am  infinitely  delighted.'  The  same  word  the  apostle  uses 
to  express  the  wonderful  delight  that  he  took  under  all  his  sufferings  ; 
he  rejoices  and  leaps  under  all  his  burdens.  Oh  \  but  now  a  soul  that 
is  poor  in  grace,  he  cannot  bear  a  burden  without  a  burden  ;  every  light 
affliction  turns  him,  and  sinks  him  ;  every  molehill  is  a  mountain ; 
every  scratch  on  the  hand  is  a  stab  at  the  heart ;  every  wave  is  a  sea, 
and  the  poor  Christian  sighs  and  groans,  and  cries  out.  Oh  !  no  sorrow 
to  my  sorrow !  no  loss  to  my  loss  !  no  cross  to  my  cross !  but  souls 
rich  in  grace  act  quite  contrary,  as  hath  been  hinted  and  proved,  &c. 

[4.]  Fourthly,  Rich  men  are  most  envied. 

History  and  Scripture  speak  out  this,  as  well  as  our  own  experience. 
The  rich  man  above  all  others  is  the  greatest  object  of  envy,  and  it  is 
as  true  that  such  that  are  most  rich  in  spirituals  are  of  all  men  the 
most  envied.  Moses  and  Aaron  Vere  rich  in  spirituals,  and  oh,  how 
were  they  envied  by  Korah,  Dathan,  and  Abiram,  and  other  wicked 
wretches  !  Ezra,  Nehemiah,  and  Mordecai,  were  rich  in  spirituals,  and 
who  more  envied  ?  Among  all  the  prophets  and  apostles,  those  have 
been  most  envied,  that  have  most  abounded  in  spiritual  worth  ;  and  to 
this  very  day,  none  are  such  objects  of  scorn  and  envy,  as  those  that 
have  most  of  Christ  within.  Men  that  have  more  leaves  than  fruit, 
that  have  a  golden  outside,  but  a  threadbare  inside,  are  less  envied 
than  those  that  are  'all  glorious  within.'^  Men  of  greatest  excellencies, 
are  the  main  objects  upon  which  the  eye  of  envy  is  placed,  Ps.  xlv.  13. 
Saul's  envious  eye  was  placed  upon  David,  and  Cain's  upon  Abel,  and 
Esau's  upon  Jacob,  and  Herod's  upon  John,  and  the  Pharisees'  upon 

•  A  tree  that  is  well  grown  stands  it  out  in  the  worst  storms  ;  it  bends  not,  it  breaks 
nof,  &c. 

*  It  was  said  of  Caesar  and  Pompey,  that  the  one  could  not  endure  a  superior,  nor  the 
other  an  equal.     [Plutarch  :  Julius  Caesar. — G.] 


192  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

Christ.  Envious  souls  are  like  the  ravens,  that  fly  over  the  sweet 
garden,  and  light  upon  the  stinking  carrion.  Envy  doth  ever  ascend  ; 
It  never  descends.  An  envious  man  can  with  more  ease  die  miserably, 
than  see  another  live  happily.  An  envious  heart  weeps  to  see  others' 
mercies,  and  joys  to  see  others'  miseries.  An  envious  heart  is  like  the 
mermaid,^  which  never  sings  hut  in  a  storm,  and  never  mourns  but  in 
a  calm.  An  envious  man  cannot  endure  those  excellencies  in  others 
that  he  wants  in  himself;  he  loves  not  any  light  that  outshines  his 
own,  any  crown  that  outweighs  his  own,  &c.  Socrates  calls  envy  Serram 
animce,  the  soul's  saw,  &c. 

Cimon,  the  famous  general  of  the  Athenian  commonwealth,  hearing 
a  friend  of  his  highly  commending  his  martial  achievements,  answered, 
*  That  they  were  not  worthy  of  commendations,  because  they  were  not 
envied,'  &c. 

[5.]  Fifthly,  Rich  men  are  most  temfted  and  assaulted. 

Pirates  do  not  use  to  set  upon  empty  vessels,  but  those  that  are  most 
richly  laden  ;  and  beggars  need  not  fear  the  thief,  though  the  rich  man 
do.  Those  that  have  been  most  rich  in  spirituals,  have  been  most 
assaulted  and  tempted  by  Satan.  Witness  Abraham,  Job,  Joshua, 
Peter,  Paul,  yea,  Christ  himself.  The  best  men  have  always  been  most 
and  worst  tempted.  None  so  much  in  the  school  of  temptation,  as 
those  that  are  most  rich  in  grace.  There  are  none  that  are  such  blocks, 
such  mountains  in  Satan's  ways,  as  these ;  none  do  him  that  mischief 
as  these ;  none  are  so  active  and  so  resolute  in  their  oppositions  against 
him  as  they,  &c. ;  and  therefore  none  so  assaulted  and  tempted  as  they.^ 
And  thus  by  these  five  things  you  may  know  whether  you  are  rich  in 
grace  or  no. 

Use  2.  The  next  use  is  this : 

If  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ  be  so  rich,  then  do  not  join  anything  with 
him,  in  the  great  work  of  your  redemption  and  salvation. 

There  are  riches  enough  in  Christ  to  pay  all  your  debts,  and  to  satisfy 
divine  justice  to  the  utmost  farthing,  without  being  beholden  to  your 
prayers,  tears,  or  humiliations.  Christ  will  be  Alexander  or  Nemo  on 
earth.     Kings  love  no  consorts  ;  power  is  impatient  of  participation. 

When  Augustus  Caesar  desired  the  senate  to  join  two  consuls  with 
him,  for  the  carrying  on  the  goveAment  of  the  state,  the  senators 
answered,  '  That  they  held  it  a  diminution  to  his  dignity  to  join  any 
with  so  incomparable  a  man  as  Augustus  Caesar  was.'  [Suetonius]. 

Was  it  a  diminution  to  his  dignity  to  join  others  with  him  in  the 
government  of  the  state  ?  And  is  it  not  a  diminution  of  the  dignity 
and  glory  of  Christ,  to  join  your  actions  and  your  endeavours  with  his 
blood,  in  the  business  of  your  redemption  ?  In  Isa.  Ixiii.  3,  '  I  have 
trodden  the  wine-press  alone ;  and  of  the  people  there  was  none  with 
me.'  And  in  Isa.  xliv.  24,  '  Thus  saith  the  Lord,  thy  Redeemer,  and 
he  that  formed  thee  from  the  womb,  I  am  the  Lord  that  maketh  all 
things  ;  that  stretcheth  forth  the  heavens  alone,  that  spreadeth  abroad 
the  earth  by  myself.'  It  is  a  sad  reproach  to  Christ  to  join  anything 
with  him  in  the  great  business  of  your  salvation ;  therefore  abhor  it 

^  Spelled  '  mearmaid.' — G. 

2  God  and  Satan  will  try  to  the  utmost  those  particular  graces  wherein  any  Christian 
does  excel,  &c. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  EICHES  OF  CHRIST.  193 

more  than  hell  itself :  let  Christ  be  all  in  all.  We  must  say  of  Christ 
as  it  was  once  said  of  Caesar,  Socium  habet  neminem,  He  may  have 
a  companion,  but  he  must  not  have  a  competitor,  &c. 

Again,  Thirdly, 

Use  3.  If  Christ  be  so  rich,  then  take  heed  of  three  things. 

(1.)  First,  Take  heed  of  sitting  down  dejected  and  discouraged  under 
any  losses  or  troubles  that  do  befall  you,  or  that  have  or  shall  befall 
you  for  the  name  of  Christ 

Christ  is  generally  rich ;  he  is  able  to  make  up  all  your  losses  and 
wants  :  Philip,  iv.  1 9,  '  But  my  God  shall  supply  all  your  need,  accord- 
ing to  his  riches  in  glory  by  Jesus  Christ,'  as  he  did  the  widow's  vessel. 
The  fountain  hath  not  the  less  water  for  the  vessel  it  fills,  nor  the  sun 
the  less  light  for  that  it  gives  forth  to  the  stars  ;  so  the  Lord  Jesus 
Christ  hath  never  a  whit  the  less  for  what  he  gives  forth  unto  his  saints. 

When  Zedislaus,  the  king  of  Poland's  general,  had  lost  his  hand  in 
his  service,  the  king  sent  him  a  golden  hand.  Ah,  Christians !  when 
you  lose  this  or  that  for  him,  he  will  send  you  a  golden  hand  ;  if  you 
lose  a  penny  for  him,  he  will  give  you  a  pearl,  Christ  will  not  live 
long  in  any  man's  debt ;  if  he  should,  he  would  lose  his  glory,  &c. 

(2.)  Secondly,  If  the  Lord  Jesus  be  ver}'-  rich,  Oh  then  take  heed  of 
despairing  by  reason  of  your  sins. 

I  confess,  the  least  sin  should  humble  the  soul,  but  certainly  the 
greatest  sin  should  never  discourage  the  soul,  much  less  should  it  work 
the  soul  to  despair.  Read  1  Tim.  i.  13-15,  and  despair,  I  had  almost 
said,  if  thou  can'st.  Despairing  Judas  perished.  Acts  ii.,  whenas  the 
murderers  of  Christ,  believing  on  Christ,  were  saved.  Despair  is  a  sin  ex- 
ceeding vile  and  contemptible;  it  is  a  word  of  eternal  reproach,  dishonour, 
and  confusion;  it  declares  the  devil  a  conqueror ;  and  what  greater  dishon- 
our can  be  done  to  Christ,  than  for  a  soul  to  proclaim  before  all  the  world 
the  devil  a  crowned  conqueror  ?  A  despairing  soul  is  magor  missabib,  a 
terror  to  himself;  his  heart  a  hell  of  horror;  his  conscience  an  aceldama, 
a  field  of  black  blood.  He  hath  no  rest  at  home  nor  abroad,  at  bed  nor 
board,  but  is  as  if  infernal  devils  followed  him  in  fearful  shapes,  terrify- 
ing and  tormenting  his  perplexed  soul.  Eternity  of  misery,  feared  or 
felt,  begets  that  monster  which,  like  Medusa's  head,  astonisheth  with 
its  very  aspect,  and  strangles  hope,  which  is  the  breath  of  the  soul. 
As  it  is  said,  dum  spiro,  spero,  so  it  may  be  inverted,  dum  spero,  spiro  ; 
other  miseries  may  wound  the  spirit,  but  despair  kills  it  dead,  &c.^ 

(3.)  Thirdly,  If  Christ  be  so  rich,  then  take  heed  of  presuming. 

Take  heed  of  taking  encouragement  to  sin  upon  this  account,  that 
Christ  is  rich  in  grace  and  mercy.  Christ  is  a  lion  as  well  as  a  lamb  ; 
he  hath  a  sword  as  well  as  a  sceptre.  To  argue  from  the  riches  of 
mercy  to  sinful  liberty  is  the  devil's  logic.  A  soul  that  thus  reasons  is 
a  soul  left  of  God,  a  soul  that  is  upon  the  last  step  of  the  ladder,  a  soul 
that  Satan  hath  by  the  hand  ;  and  the  eternal  God  knows  whither  he 
will  lead  him.  What  the  women  sung  of  Saul  and  David,  that  '  Saul 
had  slain  his  thousands,  and  David  his  ten  thousands,'  1  Sam.  xviii. 

*  '  My  sin  is  greater  than  can  be  forgiven,'  saith  Cain.  Thou  liest,  Cain,  saith  Augus- 
tine;  for  God's  mercy  is  greater  than  the  sins  of  all  men,  and  it  is  a  great  injury  to  God 
to  distrust  of  his  mercy.    \In  loco. — G.] 

VOL.  III.  '  N 


194  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EpH.  III.  8. 

6,  7,  that  I  may  say  of  despair  and  presumption,  *  Despair  hath  slain 
her  thousand,  but  presumption  hath  slain  her  ten  thousand/  '  Shall 
we  sin  that  grace  may  abound  1  God  forbid.  How  shall  we  that  are 
dead  to  sin,  live  any  longer  therein  ?'  Rom.  vi.  1,  2.  As  the  beams  of 
the  sun,  shining  on  the  fire,  put  out  the  fire,  so  the  shinings  of  God's 
mercy  on  us  should  extinguish  sin  in  us,  as  the  apostle  argues,  2  Peter 
iii.  15,  from  Paul,  Rom.  ii.  4.  Christ  seems  to  say  to  souls,  as  Theseus 
said  once,  '  Go,'  says  he,  '  and  tell  Creon,  Theseus  offers  thee  a  gracious 
offer,  yet  I  am  pleased  to  be  friends,  if  thou  wilt  submit.  This  is  my 
first  message,  but  if  this  offer  prevail  not,  look  for  me  to  be  up  in  arms.' 
Ah  souls  1  if  you  shall  abuse  the  riches  of  grace  to  a  presumptuous  sin- 
ning against  Christ,  Christ  will  take  up  arms,  and  you  shall  die  for  it. 

The  next  use  is  this : 

Use  4.  If  Christ  be  so  rich.  Oh  !  then,  open  to  Christ  when  he  knocks. 

Christ  knocks  by  his  word,  and  he  knocks  by  his  rod  ;  he  knocks  by 
his  Spirit,  and  he  knocks  by  his  messengers,  and  he  knocks  by  con- 
science. Oh,  open  to  him  !  for  he  is  very  rich.  Though  you  shut  the 
door  against  a  poor  man,  yet  you  will  open  it  to  one  that  is  rich  ;  and 
why  not  then  to  Christ,  who  would  fain  have  entrance  ?  Rev.  iii.  20, 
'  Behold,  I  stand  at  the  door,  and  knock  :  if  any  man  hear  my  voice, 
and  open  the  door,  I  will  come  in  to  him,  and  will  sup  with  him,  and 
he  with  me.' 

'  Behold,  I  stand.'  I  that  am  the  King  of  glory,  I  that  am  '  King  of 
kings,  and  Lord  of  lords,'  Ps.  xxiv.  7-9,  Rev.  xvii.  14.  T  that  am  rich  in 
mercy,  rich  in  goodness,  rich  in  grace,  rich  in  glory,  *I  stand  at  the  door 
and  knock.'  I  that  have  gold  to  enrich  you,  I  that  have  eye-salve  to 
enlighten  you,  I  that  have  glorious  apparel  to  clothe  you,  I  that  have 
mercy  to  pardon  you,  I  that  have  power  to  save  you,  I  that  have  wisdom 
to  counsel  you,  I  that  have  happiness  to  crown  you,  *I  stand  at  the  door 
and  knock/ 

*  If  any  man  open.'  If  the  master  will  not,  yet  if  the  servant  will ; 
if  the  mistress  will  not,  yet  if  the  maid  will ;  if  the  parent  will  not,  yet 
if  the  child  will  ;  if  the  rich  man  will  not,  yet  if  the  poor  man  will ;  if 
the  pharisee  won't,  yet  if  the  publican  will ; 

*  I  will  come  in,  and  sup  with  him,  and  he  with  me.'  Jesus  Christ 
hath  the  greatest  worth  and  wealth  in  him.  As  the  worth  and  value 
of  many  pieces  of  silver  is  in  one  piece  of  gold,  so  all  the  heavenly  ex- 
cellencies that  are  scattered  abroad  in  angels  and  men,  are  united  in 
Christ ;  yea,  all  the  whole  volume  of  perfection  which  is  spread  through 
heaven  and  earth  is  epitomised  in  Christ. 

They  say  it  is  true  of  the  oil  at  Rheems,  that  though  it  be  continually 
spent  in  the  inauguration  of  their  kings  of  France,  yet  it  never  wastes. 
Christ  is  a  pot  of  manna,  a  cruse  of  oil,  a  bottomless  ocean  of  all  com- 
forts and  contents  that  never  fail.  A  saint  may  say,  '  In  having  no- 
thing, I  have  all  things,  because  I  have  Christ.  Having  therefore  all 
things  in  him,  I  seek  no  other  reward,  for  he  is  the  universal  reward.' 

And  then  again. 

Use  5.  If  Christ  be  so  rich,  then  sit  down  and  wonder  at  his  con- 
descending love. 

That  one  so  rich  should  fall  in  love  with  such  that  are  poor,  wretched, 
miserable,  blind,  and  naked,  Rev.  iii.  17-21,  &c.  ;   that  one  so  high 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  195 

should  look  so  low  as  poor  we  ;  that  one  so  great,  that  one  who  is  the 
Lord  and  heir  of  all,  should  match  with  us  that  have  nothing  at  all. 
'  O  the  breadth,  the  length,  the  depth,  the  height'  of  Christ's 
love  to  unlovely  souls  !  to  such  that  had  neither  portion  nor  propor- 
tion ;  that  had  neither  external  nor  internal  worth  tliat  might  in  the 
least  draw  his  love  towards  them,  Heb.  i.  2-4,  Philip,  iii.  1 7-19,  &c.,  Ezek. 
vi.  16.  You  were  indebted  to  God  for  the  clothes  you  wear,  for  the 
bread  you  eat,  for  the  houses  you  live  in,  the  air  you  breathe  in,  the 
beds  you  lie  on,  the  ground  you  tread  on,  &c.  Now  for  Christ  to  love 
such,  and  to  be  willing  to  bestow  himself  upon  such  nothings,  oh  !  how 
should  this  work  them  to  spend  their  days  in  admiring  and  contem- 
plating upon  his  kindness  and  goodness  ! 

1  have  read  a  story  of  an  elephant,  who  being  fallen  down,  and 
unable  to  help  himself  or  get  up  again,  by  reason  of  the  inflexibleness 
of  his  legs,  a  forester  coming  by  helped  him  up,  wherewith  the  ele- 
phant, by  the  very  instinct  of  nature,  was  so  affected,  that  he  followed 
this  man,  would  do  anything  for  him,  and  never  left  him  till  his  dying 
day.^     The  application  is  easy. 

The  next  use  that  we  shall  make  of  this  point  is  this. 

Use  6.  If  Christ  be  so  rich  as  hath  been  discovered  to  you,  then  prize 
Christ  above  all. 

As  the  people  prized  David  above  themselves,  saying,  *  Thou  art  worth 
ten  thousand  of  us,'  2  Sam.  xviii.  3,  so  should  saints  lift  up  Jesus  Christ 
above  themselves,  and  above  everything  below  himself  He  that  lifts 
not  Christ  up  above  all  hath  no  interest  in  Christ  at  all ;  he  that  sets 
not  Christ  above  all  is  not  a  disciple  of  Christ :  Luke  xiv.  26,  *  If  any  man 
come  to  me,  and  hate  not  his  father,  and  mother,  and  wife,  and  children, 
and  brethren,  and  sisters,  yea,  and  his  own  life  also,  he  cannot  be  my 
disciple.'  Surely  they  do  not  truly  love  Christ  who  love  anything  more 
than  Christ.^ 

It  was  a  notable  saying  of  Jerome,  *  If  my  father  should  hang  upon 
me,  my  brethren  should  press  round  about  me,  and  my  mother  should 
stand  before  me,  I  would  throw  down  my  father,  I  would  break  through 
my  brethren,  and  I  would  trample  upon  my  mother,  to  come  to  Christ.' 

Other  saints  have  lifted  up  Christ  above  all  their  lands,  relations,  and 
lives,  as  you  may  see  in  Heb.  xi. ;  and  so  did  a  multitude  of  the  martyrs 
imder  the  ten  persecutions,  &c.  As  Pharoah  set  up  Joseph  above  all, 
and  made  him  governor  of  the  land,  and  as  Darius  set  up  Daniel  over 
all,  so  you  must  prize  Christ,  and  set  up  Christ  above  all. 

Remember  a  few  things,  that  this  may  the  better  stick  upon  your 
hearts. 

[1.]  First,  A  Christ  highly  prized  will  be  a  Christ  greatly  delighted  in. 

Every  soul  delights  in  Christ  as  he  prizes  Christ,  and  no  otherwise. 
The  reason  of  reasons  why  Christ  is  no  more  delighted  in,  is  because  he 
is  no  more  prized  among  the  sons  of  men :  Cant.  ii.  5,  *  As  the  apple- 
tree  among  the  trees  of  the  wood,  so  is  my  well-beloved  among  the  sons. 
I  sat  down  under  his  shadow  with  great  delight,  and  his  fruit  was  plea- 
sant to  my  taste.'     The  seeing  of  this  object  delights  the  eye  of  a  believer, 

^  Love  is  like  fire,  very  operative.     Si  non  operatur,  non  est. 

2  Austin  saith  he  would  willingly  go  through  hell  to  Christ.  .  .  .  Certe  non  amant  illi 
Christum,  qui  aliquidplus  quam  Christum  amant. 


196  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

the  hearing  of  this  object  delights  the  ear  of  a  believer,  the  enjoying, 
the  possessing  of  this  object  delights  the  heart  of  a  believer :  *  1  sat 
down  under  his  shadow  with  great  delight' 

The  apple-tree  is  delightful  for  shadow,  so  is  Christ ;  he  is  a  shadow 
to  poor  souls  when  they  are  scorched  with  troubles  within  and  terrors 
without :  Isa.  xxxii.  2,  '  And  a  man,'  that  is,  Christ,  '  shall  be  as  an 
hiding-place  from  the  wind,  and  as  a  covert  from  the  tempest,  as  rivers 
of  waters  in  a  dry  place,  as  the  shadow  of  a  great  rock  in  a  weary  land/ 

The  apple-tree  is  delightful  for  pleasantness  of  fruit,  so  is  the  Lord 
Jesus  for  those  pleasant  fruits  of  righteousness  and  holiness  that  grow 
upon  him. 

And  the  apple-tree  is  delightful  for  varieties,  so  is  Christ ;  for  there 
are  all  varieties  of  excellencies  in  himself:  Col.  i.  19,  'It  pleased  the 
Father  that  in  him  should  all  fulness  dwell.'  We  delight  in  persons 
and  things  as  we  prize  them,  and  no  otherwise.  Jonathan  highly  prized 
David,  and  delighted  in  him  accordingly.  Jacob  highly  prized  Rachel, 
and  delighted  in  her  answerably.  You  will  delight  in  Christ  as  you 
prize  him ;  if  you  prize  him  but  a  little,  you  will  delight  in  him  but  a 
little. 

[2.]  Secondly,  Remember  this,  a  Christ  Jiighly  prized  will  be  a  Christ 
gloriously  obeyed. 

Every  man  obeys  Christ  as  he  prizeth  Christ,  and  no  otherwise.  The 
higher  price  any  soul  sets  upon  Christ,  the  more  noble  will  that  soul  be 
in  his  obedience  to  Christ.  If  Christ  were  more  prized  in  the  world,  he 
would  be  more  obeyed  in  the  world.  A  soul  that  highly  prizeth  Christ 
is  better  at  obeying  than  at  disputing  any  command  of  Christ.  If 
Christ  will  command  such  a  soul  to  step  over  the  world's  crown  to  take 
up  his  cross,  the  soul  will  do  it,  as  you  may  see  in  Moses,  Heb.  xi.  24- 
26.  He  sets  a  higher  price  upon  Christ's  cross  than  upon  Pharoah's 
crown.  When  Christ's  cross  and  the  world's  crown  stood  in  competi- 
tion, upon  a  bare  command  of  God  Moses  steps  over  the  world's  crown 
to  take  up  Christ's  cross :  '  He  chose  rather  to  suffer  affliction  with  the 
people  of  God,  than  to  enjoy  the  pleasures  of  sin  for  a  season.'  And  so 
Abraham,  upon  a  bare  command  of  God,  leaves  his  country,  and  his 
near  and  dear  relations.  He  wholly  resigns  up  himself  to  God ;  lie  puts 
his  hand  into  God's,  and  is  willing  that  God  should  lead  him  whither  he 
pleases,  and  do  with  him  what  he  pleases.^ 

I  remember  an  excellent  saying  of  Luther,  Mallem  mere  cum 
Christo,  quam  regnare  cum  Ccesare,  '  I  had  rather,'  saith  he,  '  fall  with 
Christ  than  stand  with  Caesar.'  And  indeed  every  gracious  soul  that 
highly  prizes  Christ  will  rather  choose  to  fall  with  Christ  than  to  neglect 
his  obedience  to  Christ.  By  obeying  Christ  we  gain  more  honour  than 
we  can  give  ;  by  kissing  the  Son  we  even  command  him,  and  make  him 
ours,  &c. 

[3.]  Thirdly,  Christians,  remember  this,  all  the  causes  of  prizing 
persons  and  things  are  eminently  and  only  in  Christ ;  which  bespeaks 
you  all  to  set  a  very,  very  high  price  upon  the  Lord  Jesus.  Christ's 
beauty  needs  no  letters  of  commendation.  You  prize  some  for  their 
beauty ;  why,  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ  is  the  fairest  among  the  children 

'  Non  parentum  aid  majorum  authoritas,  sed  Dei  dicentis  imperium.     The  command  of 
God  must  outweigh  all  authority  and  example  of  men. — Jerome. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  EICHES  OF  CHRIST.  197 

of  men,  Ps.  xlv.  1,  2  ;  Cant.  v.  10,  'My  beloved  is  white  and  ruddy;  the 
chiefest,'  or,  the  standard-bearer,  'among  ten  thousand.'  You  prize 
others  for  their  strength;  why,  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ  hath  in  him  ever- 
lasting strength :  Isa.  xxvi.  4,  '  Trust  in  the  Lord  for  ever,  for  in  the 
Lord  Jehovah  is  everlasting  strength ;  he  is  the  rock  of  ages.'  You 
prize  others  for  bearing  their  father's  image  ;  why  the  Lord  Jesus  bears 
the  image  of  his  Father :  Heb.  i.  3,  '  He  is  the  brightness  of  his  Father's 
glory,  and  the  express  image  of  his  person.'^  You  prize  others  for  their 
wisdom  and  knowledge ;  such  a  one  is  a  very  wise  man,  you  say,  and 
therefore  you  prize  him  ;  and  such  a  one  is  a  very  knowing  man,  and 
therefore  you  prize  him ;  why,  all  the  treasures  of  wisdom  and  know- 
ledge are  in  Christ :  Col.  ii.  3,  '  In  whom,'  saith  he,  speaking  of  Christ, 
'  are  hid  all  the  treasures  of  wisdom  and  knowledge.'  The  truth  is,  all 
those  perfections  and  excellencies  that  are  in  all  angels  and  men,  they 
all  centre  in  Christ,  they  are  all  epitomised  in  Christ.  All  the  angels 
in  heaven  have  but  some  of  those  perfections  that  be  in  Christ.  All 
wisdom,  and  all  power,  and  all  goodness,  and  all  mercy,  and  all  love,  &c., 
is  in  no  glorified  creature,  no,  not  in  all  glorified  creatures  put  together. 
But  now  in  Christ  all  these  perfections  and  excellencies  meet,  as  all 
water  meets  in  the  sea,  and  as  all  light  meets  in  the  sun.  Others  you 
prize  for  their  usefulness ;  the  more  useful  persons  and  things  are,  the 
more  you  prize  and  value  them.  The  Lord  Jesus  Christ  is  of  universal 
use  to  his  people  ;  why,  he  is  the  right  eye  of  his  people,  without  which 
they  cannot  see ;  and  the  right  hand  of  his  people,  without  which  they 
cannot  do,  &c.  He  is  of  singular  use  to  all  his  people.  He  is  of  use  to 
weak  saints,  to  strengthen  them ;  and  he  is  of  use  to  doubting  saints, 
to  resolve  them ;  and  he  is  of  use  to  dull  saints,  to  quicken  them ;  and 
he  is  of  use  to  falling  saints,  to  support  them ;  and  he  is  of  use  to  wan- 
dering saints,  to  recover  them.  In  prosperity  he  is  of  use  to  keep  his 
saints  humble  and  watchful,  spotless  and  fruitful ;  and  in  adversity  he 
is  of  use  to  keep  them  contented  and  cheerful.  All  which  should  very 
much  engage  our  hearts  to  prize  this  Christ.^ 

Again,  we  prize  things  as  they  suit  us;  why,  Christ  is  not  only  a  good, 
but  a  suitable  good.  Christ  is  light  to  enlighten  us,  John  i.  8,  9  ;  and 
he  is  life  to  enliven  us,  Philip,  v.  14.  He  is  riches  to  supply  us,  and  he 
is  raiment  to  clothe  us  ;  he  is  a  staff  to  support  us,  and  he  is  a  sword  to 
defend  us;  he  is  bread  to  nourish  us,  and  he  is  water  to  refresh  us,  and 
wine  to  cheer  us  ;  and  what  would  we  have  more  ? 

[4.]  Fourthly,  Yet  once  more,  that  this  may  stick  upon  us,  let  us  con- 
sider, that  where  we  are  highly  prized  there  we  highly  jprize? 

Why,  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ  doth  exceedingly  prize  every  believing 
soul ;  yea,  even  such  poor  weak  saints,  that  many  swelled  souls  slight 
and  despise  as  persons  of  no  worth,  because  they  want  that  light  and 
knowledge,  and  those  parts  and  gifts,  that  others  have.  Well,  Chris- 
tians, remember  this,  Christ  prizes  you  as  the  apple  of  his  eye,  Zech. 
ii.  8  ;  he  prizes  you  as  his  jewels,  Mai.  iii.  17  ;  he  prizes  you  as  his  por- 

'  The  character  of  his  subsistence.  A  comparison  from  the  seal  of  a  ring,  the  form  of 
which  is  imprinted  in  the  wax. 

2  Christ  is  quicquid  appetibile,  as  Origen  speaks,  whatever  we  can  desire.  If  we  hunger 
and  thirst,  he  is  pabulum  animce,  the  food  of  the  soul. 

'  Christ  may  well  be  compared  to  the  trees  of  the  sanctuary,  Ezek.  xlvii.  12,  which 
were  both  for  meat  and  for  medicine. 


198  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

tion,  Deut.  xxxii.  9,  '  The  Lord's  portion  is  his  people;'  he  prizes  you  as 
his  glory,  Isa.  xlvi.  13  ;  he  prizes  you  as  his  ornaments,  Ezek.  vii.  20  ; 
he  prizes  you  as  his  throne,  Jer.  xl.  21  ;  he  prizes  you  as  his  diadem, 
Isa.  Ixii.  3  ;  he  prizes  you  as  his  friends,  John  xiv. ;  he  prizes  you  as  his 
brethren,  Heb.  ii.  11,  12;  he  prizes  you  as  his  bride,  Isa.  Ixii.  5  ;  he 
prizes  you  above  his  Father's  bosom,  for  he  leaves  that  to  do  you  ser- 
vice, John  xvi.  28 ;  yea,  he  prizes  you  above  his  very  life,  he  lays  down 
his  life  to  save  your  souls,  John  x.  Now,  oh  who  would  not  highly 
prize  such  a  Christ,  that  sets  such  an  invaluable  price  upon  such  worth- 
less souls ! 

[5.]  Fifthly  and  lastly,  consider,  That  your  high  prizing  of  Christ 
will  work  you  to  value  the  least  things  of  Christ  above  the  greatest 
worldly  good. 

It  will  make  you  value  the  least  nod  of  Christ,  the  least  love-token 
from  Christ,  the  least  good  look  from  Christ,  the  least  good  word  from 
Christ,  the  least  truth  of  Christ,  &c.,  above  all  the  honours,  treasures, 
pleasures,  and  glories  of  this  world  :  Ps.  cxix.  72,  '  The  law  of  thy  mouth 
is  better  than  thousands  of  gold  and  silver.'  Luther  would  not  take 
all  the  world  for  one  leaf  of  the  Bible.  And  oh  that  a  serious  considera- 
tion of  these  things  might  work  all  your  hearts  to  a  high  prizing  of  the 
Lord  Jesus ! 

Use.  7.  The  next  use  that  we  shall  make  of  this  point,  is  this. 

If  Christ  be  so  rich,  then  trust  to  Christ. 

Who  will  not  trust  a  rich  man  ?  Every  one  strives  to  trust  a  rich 
man :  *  The  rich  hath  many  friends,'  Prov.  xiv.  20.  Why,  the  Lord 
Jesus  Christ  is  very  rich  ;  will  you  be  persuaded  to  trust  him  ?  Oh  trust 
him  with  your  best  treasures,  with  your  choicest  jewels,  with  your  names, 
souls,  estates,  relations  !  The  apostle  was  excellent  at  this  :  2  Tim.  i.  12, 
'  I  know  him,'  saith  he,  '  in  whom  I  have  believed,  that  he  is  able  to 
keep  that  which  I  have  committed  unto  him,  until  that  day.'^  I  have 
committed  my  soul  to  him,  and  my  life  to  him,  and  my  name  to  him, 
and  all  my  mercies  and  enjoyments  to  him.  The  child  cannot  better 
secure  any  precious  thing  it  hath,  than  by  putting  it  into  the  father's 
hands  to  keep.  Our  mercies  are  always  safest  and  surest  when  they 
are  out  of  our  hands,  when  they  are  in  the  hands  of  God.  We  trust  as 
we  love,  and  we  trust  where  we  We  ;  where  we  love  much,  we  trust 
much.  Much  trust  speaks  out  much  love ;  if  you  love  Christ  much, 
surely  you  will  trust  him  much. 

That  was  a  notable  bold  expression  of  Luther,  '  Let  him  that  died 
for  my  soul,  see  to  the  salvation  of  it.'  I  have  committed  my  soul  to 
him,  I  have  given  it  up  into  his  hands,  who  is  my  life,  who  is  my  love, 
and  let  him  look  after  it,  let  him  take  care  of  it.  In  securing  of  that, 
he  secures  his  own  glory.  Oh  that  Christians  would  trust  in  this  rich 
Christ  for  a  supply  of  necessaries  !  Is  Christ  so  rich,  and  will  you  not 
take  his  word  that  he  will  not  see  you  want  ?  Will  you  trust  a  rich 
man  upon  his  word,  and  will  you  not  trust  a  rich  Christ  upon  his  word  ? 
Do  you  believe  he  will  give  you  a  crown,  and  will  you  not  trust  him  for 

*  Interpreters  differ  about  the  pawn  or  pledge  which  the  apostle  committed  to  God's 
custody.  One  saith  it  was  his  soul ;  a  second  saith  it  was  himself,  which  is  all  one  ;  a 
third  saith  it  was  his  works  ;  a  fourth  saith  it  was  his  sufferings  ;  a  fifth  saith  it  was  his 
salvation.     Without  doubt,  it  was  all  that  was  near  and  dear  to  him. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  199 

a  crust  ?  Do  you  believe  he  will  give  you  a  kingdom,  and  do  you 
doubt  whether  he  will  give  you  a  cottage  to  rest  in  ?  Has  he  given  you 
his  blood,  and  do  you  think  that  he  will  deny  you  anything  that  is 
really  for  your  good  ?     Surely  he  will  not,  he  cannot.'  ^ 

Again,  Trust  him  for  power  against  all  the  remainders  of  sin  in 
you. 

Hath  Christ  freed  you  from  the  damnatory  power  of  sin,  and  from  the 
dominion  of  sin,  and  will  not  you  trust  him  for  deliverance  from  the 
remainders  of  sin  ?  Ps.  Ixv.  3,  '  Iniquities  prevail  against  me  :  as  for  our 
transgressions,  thou  shalt  purge  them  away.'  Oh  excellent  faith  !  Rom. 
viii.  1,  vi.  14. 

Again,  Tru^t  him  to  bring  you  into  the  land  of  rest. 

Do  you  think  that  this  Joshua  is  not  able  to  carry  you  through  all 
difficulties,  dangers,  and  deaths  ?  Do  you  think  that  he  will  leave  you 
to  die  in  the  wilderness,  who  have  already  had  some  glimpses  of  heaven's 
glory  ?  Oh  trust  to  this  Christ  for  the  bringing  your  souls  into  the 
promised  land !  Christ  would  lose  his  glory  should  you  fall  short  of 
glory,  &c. 

Use  8.  Again,  If  Christ  be  so  rich,  then  do  not  forsake  him,  do  not 
leave,  do  not  turn  your  hacks  upon  hiyn. 

Is  there  riches  of  justification,  and  riches  of  sanctification,  and  riches 
of  consolation,  and  riches  of  glorification  in  Christ  ?  Yes,  why  then  do 
not  depart  from  him,  do  not  shake  hands  with  him.'*  That  is  a  sad  com- 
plaint of  God  in  Jer.  ii.  12,  13,  'Be  ye  astonished,  O  ye  heavens,  at 
this,  and  be  horribly  afraid,  be  ye  very  desolate,  saith  the  Lord.  For 
my  people  have  committed  two  evils ;  they  have  forsaken  me,  the 
fountain  of  living  waters,  and  hewed  them  out  cisterns,  broken  cisterns, 
that  can  hold  no  water.'  It  is  madness  and  folly  to  fly  from  the  fountain 
to  the  stream,  from  the  light  of  the  sun  to  the  light  of  a  candle.  And 
is  it  not  greater  madness  and  folly  to  forsake  the  Creator  to  run  after 
the  creature  ?  Oh  say  as  Peter,  '  Whither  should  we  go,  thou  hast  the 
words  of  eternal  life,'  John  vi.  68.  To  run  from  Christ,  is  to  run  from 
all  life,  peace,  and  joy ;  it  is  to  run  from  our  strength,  our  shelter,  our 
security,  our  safety,  our  crown,  our  glory.  Crabs,  that  go  backward, 
are  reckoned  among  unclean  creatures.  Lev.  xi.  10.  The  application  is 
easy. 

Origen  coming  to  Jerusalem,  after  that  he  had  shamefully  turned  his 
back  upon  Christ  and  his  truth,  and  being  exceedingly  pressed  to  preach, 
at  last  he  yields,  and  as  he  opened  the  book,  he  happened  to  cast  his 
eye  upon  that  place  of  the  psalmist,  *  What  hast  thou  to  do  to  declare 
my  statutes,  or  that  thou  shouldest  take  my  covenant  in  thy  mouth, 
seeing  thou  hatest  instruction,  and  castest  my  word  behind  thee  V  Ps.  1. 
16,  17.  Now  the  remembrance  of  his  own  folly  so  reflected  upon 
his  conscience,  that  it  made  him  close  the  book  and  sit  down  and 
weep.  Such  as  forsake  a  rich,  a  full  Christ,  shall  have  weeping  work 
enough. 

That  is  a  very  dreadful  scripture,  Jer.  xvii.  13,  '  All  you  that  forsake 
the  Lord,  shall  come  to  be  ashamed,  and  they  that  depart  from  him, 

'  (1.)  Christ's  promises  are  ever  performed,  2  Cor.  i.  20.    (2.)  His  promises  aro  over- 
performed,  1  Cor.  ii,  9,  &c. 
2   You  read  of  no  arms  for  the  back,  though  you  do  for  the  breast,  Eph.  vi.  11. 


200  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

shall  be  written  in  the  dust/  Can  you  read  this  text,  backsliding  souls, 
and  not  tremble  ?  &c. 

Use  9.  Again,  If  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ  be  so  rich,  Oh  !  then  all  you 
that  have  an  interest  in  him,,  labour  mightily  to  clear  up  your  interest, 
and  to  be  more  and  more  confident  of  your  interest  in  so  rich  a  Jesus. 

My  brethren,  it  is  one  thing  for  a  man  to  have  an  interest  in  Christ, 
and  another  thing  to  have  his  interest  cleared  up  to  him.  I  do  speak 
it  with  grief  of  heart,  that  even  among  such  Christians  that  I  hope  to 
meet  in  heaven,  there  is  scarce  one  of  forty,  nay,  one  of  a  hundred,  that 
is  groundedly  able  to  make  out  his  interest  in  the  Lord  Jesus.  Most 
Christians  live  between  fear  and  hope,  between  doubting  and  believing. 
One  day  they  hope  that  all  is  well,  and  that  all  shall  be  well  for  ever ; 
the  next  day  they  are  ready  to  say  that  they  shall  one  day  perish  by 
the  hand  of  such  a  corruption,  or  else  by  the  hand  of  such  or  such  a 
temptation  ;  and  thus  they  are  up  and  down,  saved  and  lost,  many  times 
in  a  day. 

But  you  will  say  unto  me.  What  means  should  we  use  to  clear  up 
our  interest  in  Christ  ? 

I  will  tell  you. 

There  are  six  singular^  means  that  you  should  labour  after,  for  the 
evidencing  more  and  more  your  interest  in  Christ.  And  take  it  from 
experience,  you  will  find  that  they  will  contribute  very  much  for  the 
evidencing  your  interest  in  Christ. 

[] .]  And  the  first  is  this.  Faithfully  and  constantly  fall  in  ivith  the 
interest  of  Christ. 

Holiness  is  the  interest  of  Christ,  the  gospel  is  the  interest  of  Christ, 
the  precious  ordinances  are  the  interest  of  Christ,  &c.  Now  the  more 
sincerely  and  roundly  you  fall  in  with  the  interest  of  Christ,  the  more 
abundantly  you  will  be  confirmed  and  persuaded  of  your  interest  in 
Christ.  Such  souls  as  fall  in  with  strange  interests,  or  with  base  and 
carnal  interests,  may  justly  question  whether  ever  they  had  any  real 
interest  in  Christ.  Christians  !  did  you  more  sincerely  and  fully  fall  in 
with  Christ's  interest,  you  would  less  question  your  interest  in  Christ ; 
this  would  scatter  many  a  cloud.^ 

[2.]  Secondly,  Be  kind  to  the  Spirit  of  Christ  ^ 

Do  not  grieve  him,  do  not  slight  him.  If  you  should  set  this  Spirit 
a-mourning,  that  alone  can  evidence  your  interest,  that  alone  can  seal  up 
your  interest  in  Christ,  by  whom  shall  your  interest  in  Christ  be  sealed 
up  ?  Oh  do  not  grieve  the  Spirit  by  acting  against  light,  against  con- 
science, against  engagements  ;  do  not  grieve  him  by  casting  his  cordials 
and  comforts  behind  your  backs ;  do  not  grieve  him  by  slighting  and 
despising  his  gracious  actings  in  others ;  do  not  cast  water  upon  the 
Spirit,  but  wisely  attend  the  hints,  the  items,  and  motions  of  the  Spirit, 
and  he  will  clear  up  thy  interest  in  Christ,  he  will  make  thee  say,  '  My 
beloved  is  mine,  and  I  am  his,'  Cant.  ii.  1 6. 

[3.]  Thirdly,  Labour  more  and  more  after  a  full  and  universal 
conformity  to  Jesus  Chmst. 

1  Distinct.— G. 

2  The  primitive  Christians  did  generally  fall  in  with  the  interest  of  Christ,  and  they 
generally,  had  an  assurance  of  their  interest  in  Christ. 

^  Lam.  i.  16,  Philip,  iv.  30,  Isa.  Ixiii.  10.  Spiritus  sanctus  est  res  delicata,  Ps.  Ixxvii,  2, 
1  Thes.  V.  19. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  201 

The  more  the  soul  is  conformable  to  Christ,  the  more  confident  it  will 
be  of  its  interest  in  Christ :  1  John  iv.  17,  '  Herein  is  our  love  made 
perfect,  that  we  may  have  boldness  in  the  day  of  judgment,  because  as 
he  is,  so  are  we  in  this  world/  *  As  he,  so  are  we.'  The  child  is  not 
more  like  the  father  than  we  are  like  our  Saviour.  The  child  is  the 
father  multiplied,  the  father  of  a  second  edition.  Our  suTnmum  honum 
consists  in  our  full  communion  with  Christ,  and  in  our  full  conformity 
to  Christ.  Oh  !  if  men  were  more  universally  conformable  to  Christ  in 
their  affections,  ends,  designs,  and  actings,  &c.,  they  would  have  abun- 
dantly more  clear,  full,  and  glorious  evidences  of  their  interest  in  Christ. 
A  more  full  conformity  to  Christ  in  heart  and  life  will  make  your  lives 
a  very  heaven,  &c.  As  all  good  orators  endeavour  to  be  like  Demos- 
thenes, so  all  good  Christians  should  endeavour  to  be  like  Jesus  Christ ; 
for  therein  lies  their  glory  and  perfection. 

[4.]  Fourthly,  Interest  Christ  in  the  glory  of  all  you  enjoy,  and  in 
the  glory  of  all  you  do. 

This  is  a  precious  way  to  have  your  interest  in  Christ  more  and  more 
evidenced  to  your  own  souls,  1  Cor.  x.  31.  Such  as  are  good  at  this, 
as  are  much  in  this,  will  find  Christ  every  day  a-clearing  up  more  and 
more  their  interest  in  himself  It  is  not  usually  long  night  with  such 
souls.  Oh  Christians !  interest  Christ  more  and  more  in  the  glory  of 
all  your  graces,  interest  him  in  the  glory  of  all  your  duties,  interest  him 
in  the  glory  of  all  your  abilities,  as  Christ  doth  interest  you  in  himself, 
in  his  Spirit,  in  his  graces,  in  his  riches,  in  his  titles,  in  his  dignities,  in 
his  offices.  Ah  Christians  !  did  you  interest  Christ  more  in  all  you 
have,  in  all  you  are,  and  in  all  you  do,  you  would  never  be  so  full 
of  fears,  and  doubts,  and  questions  about  your  interest  in  Christ  as  you 
are,  John  i.  16,  Eev.  i.  5,  6,  1  Peter  ii.  9.  Your  interesting  of  Christ 
in  all  you  have  and  do,  will  speak  out  not  only  the  truth  of  your  love, 
but  also  the  strength  and  greatness  of  your  love ;  and  where  men  love 
much,  where  they  love  strongly,  there  they  do  not  question  the  truth  of 
their  love.^ 

The  heathen  gods  were  contented  to  divide  their  honours  amongst 
themselves,  and  hence  the  senate  of  Rome  rejected  Christ,  from  taking 
him  to  be  a  god,  after  that  they  had  consulted  about  it ;  for,  said  they, 
if  Christ  come  to  be  acknowledged  a  god,  he  will  not  share  with  the 
rest,  he  will  have  all  himself;  and  so  upon  this  reason  they  refused  him.* 
Christians  !  Christ  will  not  have  any  competitor ;  he  will  rather  part 
with  anything  than  with  his  glory  :  Isa,  xlii.  8,  *I  am  the  Lord,  that  is  my 
name,  and  my  glory  will  I  not  give  to  another,  neither  my  praise  to 
graven  images.'  Christ  will  rather  part  with  his  life  than  with  his 
honour ;  therefore,  let  every  Christian  say  as  David  does  :  1  Chron.  xxix. 
11-13,  '  Thine,  O  Lord,  is  the  greatness,  and  the  power,  and  the  glory, 
and  the  victory,  and  the  majesty;  for  all  that  is  in  the  heaven  and  in 
the  earth  is  thine  ;  thine  is  the  kingdom,  O  Lord,  and  thou  art  exalted 
as  head  above  all.  Both  riches  and  honour  come  of  thee,  and  thou  reign- 
est  over  all ;  and  in  thine  hand  is  power  and  might,  and  in  thine  hand 
it  is  to  make  great,  and  to  give  strength  unto  all.  Now,  therefore,  our 
God  we  thank  thee,  and  praise  thy  glorious  name.'    And  clearly,  friends, 

'  The  mother  that  strongly  loves  her  child  does  not  question  the  truth  of  her  love  to 
her  child.  2  TertuUian,  Apolog.,  c.  v. ;  and  cf.  Lardner. — G. 


202  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

the  more  your  hearts  are  led  forth  to  interest  Christ  in  all  you  enjoy, 
and  in  all  you  do,  the  more  clear  and  glorious  evidence  you  will  have 
of  your  interest  in  Christ.  Let  his  honour  and  glory  lie  nearer  and 
nearer  to  your  hearts,  and  you  shall  see  that  he  has  set  you  as  a  seal 
upon  his  arm,  as  a  seal  upon  his  heart. 

[5.]  The  fifth  means  to  gain  the  knowledge  of  your  interest  in  Christ 
is,  By  cleaving  to  Christ,  and  whatsoever  is  dear  to  Christ,  in  the  face 
of  all  miseries,  difficulties,  and  dangers. 

It  is  nothing  to  cleave  to  Christ  in  fair  weather,  when  every  one  cleaves 
to  Christ,  when  every  one  professes  Christ ;  but  to  cleave  to  him  in  a 
storm,  when  every  one  runs  from  him,  this  speaks  out  a  child-like  dis- 
position ;  it  speaks  out  a  Jacob's  spirit :  Ps.  xliv.  ;  Acts  v.  ;  Heb.  xi. ; 
Dan.  iii.  ;  Acts  xxi.  13.  Surely  he  must  needs  have  much  of  Christ, 
that  nothing  can  take  off  from  cleaving  to  Christ.  When  the  soul  says 
to  Christ,  as  Ruth  said  to  Naomi,  '  Whither  thou  goest  I  will  go ;  and 
where  thou  lodgest  I  will  lodge  :  thy  people  shall  be  my  people,  and  thy 
God  shall  be  my  God.  The  Lord  do  so  to  me,  and  more  also,  if  aught 
but  death  part  thee  and  me,'  Euth  i.  15-18.  When  neither  the  frowns 
of  men,  nor  the  reproach  of  men,  nor  the  contempt  of  men,  nor  opposi- 
tions from  men,  can  take  the  soul  off  from  cleaving  to  Christ,  it  will  not 
be  long  before  Christ  speaks  peace  to  such  a  soul :  Ps.  Ixiii.  8,  '  My  soul 
foUoweth  hard  after  thee,  thy  right  hand  upholds  me.'  In  the  Hebrew 
it  is,  '  My  soul  cleaveth  to  thee,'  or  '  is  glued  to  thee,'  as  Jonathan's 
soul  cleaved  to  David,  and  as  Jacob's  soul  cleaved  to  Rachel,  in  the  face 
of  all  difficulties  and  troubles.  Doubtless,  when  the  soul  cleaves  to 
Christ  in  the  face  of  all  afflictions  and  difficulties,  this  carries  with  it  very 
much  evidence  of  its  interest  in  Christ.  In  temporals  men  cleave  to 
persons  and  things,  as  their  interest  is  in  them  ;  and  so  it  is  in  spirituals 
also.  Christ  cannot,  Christ  will  not,  throw  such  to  hell  that  hang  about 
him,  that  cleave  to  him.^ 

[6.]  Sixthly  and  lastly,  If  you  would  know  vjhether  you  have  an  in- 
terest in  Christ,  then  he  very  much  in  observing  what  interest  Christ 
has  in  you. 

Observe  whether  he  has  the  interest  of  a  head,  a  husband,  a  father, 
or  no.  Christ  has  a  general  interest  in  all  creatures,  as  he  is  the  Crea- 
tor and  preserver  of  them ;  and  he  has  a  head's  interest,  a  husband's 
interest,  a  father's  interest,  only  in  them  that  have  a  saving  interest  in 
him.  The  interest  of  the  head,  the  husband,  the  father,  is  the  greatest 
interest ;  it  is  the  sweetest  interest,  it  is  a  commanding  interest,  it  is 
a  growing  interest,  it  is  a  peculiar  interest,  it  is  a  lasting  interest ;  and 
really,  if  the  Lord  Jesus  hath  such  an  interest  in  you,  you  may  be  as 
confident  that  you  have  a  real  and  glorious  interest  in  him,  as  you  are 
confident  that  you  live.  And  thus  much  for  the  means  whereby  you 
may  come  to  know  your  interest  in  rich  Jesus. 

Before  I  close  up  this  discourse,  give  me  leave  to  speak  a  few  words 
to  poor  sinners  who,  to  this  very  day,  are  afar  off  from  this  Jesus,  who 
is  so  rich  in  all  excellencies  and  glories.  Ah  poor  hearts  !  you  have 
heard  much  of  the  riches  of  the  Lord  Jesus,  and  oh  that  I  could  per- 
suade with  you  to  get  an  interest  in  this  Christ !  Get  this  Christ,  and 
you  get  all ;  miss  him,  and  you  miss  all.     It  is  a  matter  of  eternal  con- 

'  Shamma,  one  of  David's  worthies,  stood  and  defended  the  field  when  all  the  rest  fled.. 


EpH.  hi.  a]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  203 

cernment  to  your  souls.  Nothing  can  make  that  man  miserable  that 
hath  this  rich  Christ ;  nothing  can  make  that  man  happy  that  wants 
this  rich  Christ.  In  Pro  v.  iv.  5-7,  *  Get  wisdom  (that  is  Christ),  get 
understanding,  forget  it  not.  Wisdom  is  the  principal  thing,  there- 
fore get  wisdom,  and  with  all  thy  getting  get  understanding.'  And 
so  in  Prov.  xvi.  ]  6,  '  How  much  better  is  it  to  get  wisdom  than  gold  ? 
and  to  get  understanding,  rather  to  be  chosen  than  silver  ?'  Hadst  thou 
all  the  power  of  the  world,  without  an  interest  in  Christ,  thou  wouldst 
be  but  weak,  1  Cor.  i.  25-29.  Hadst  thou  all  the  wit  and  learning 
in  the  world,  without  an  interest  in  Christ,  thou  wilt  be  but  a  fool. 
Hadst  thou  all  the  honours  in  the  world,  yet  without  an  interest  in 
Christ,  thou  wouldst  be  but  base.  Hadst  thou  all  the  wealth  in  the 
world,  yet  without  an  interest  in  Christ,  thou  wouldst  be  but  a  beggar, 
Dan.  iv.  17;  Luke  xvi.  22-26,  &c.  Oh,  therefore,  labour  for  an  in- 
terest in  Christ !  Oh,  turn  the  wise  merchant  at  last !  The  wise  mer- 
chant in  the  Gospel  parts  with  all  to  buy  the  pearl,  to  get  an  interest 
in  Christ,  Mat.  xiii.  45-47.  Oh  it  is  your  greatest  wisdom,  it  is  of  an 
eternal  concernment  to  your  souls,  to  sell  all,  to  part  with  all,  for  an  in- 
terest in  the  Lord  Jesus  !  Oh  do  not  deal  with  your  own  souls,  when 
Christ  is  tendered  and  offered  to  you,  as  sometimes  simple  people  do 
when  they  go  to  market ;  they  might  have  a  good  pennyworth,  but  that 
they  are  loath  to  part  with  some  old  piece  of  gold  that  has  been  given 
them  by  a  father  or  a  friend  ;  somewhat  willing  they  are  to  have  a  good 
pennyworth,  but  unwilling  they  are  to  part  with  their  gold.  It  is  so 
with  many  poor  sinners,  when  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ  is  presented  to 
their  souls  as  a  very  glorious  pennyworth,  somewhat  willing  they  are  to 
have  him,  but  unwilling  they  are  to  part  with  their  old  good,  with  some 
old  sweet  darling  lust.  But,  sinners,  don't  you  deceive  your  own  souls ; 
sin  and  your  souls  must  part,  or  Christ  and  your  souls  can  never  meet. 
Sin  and  your  souls  must  be  two,  or  Christ  and  your  souls  can  never  be 
one.  Christ  is  a  most  precious  commodity ;  he  is  better  than  rubies, 
Prov.  viii.  11,  or  the  most  costly  pearls ;  and  you  must  part  with  your 
old  gold,  with  your  shining  gold,  your  old  sins,  your  most  shining  sins, 
or  you  must  perish  for  ever.  Christ  is  to  be  sought  and  bought  with 
any  pains,  at  any  price.  We  cannot  buy  this  gold  too  dear.  He  is  a 
jewel  more  worth  than  a  thousand  worlds,  as  all  know  that  have  him. 
Get  him,  and  get  all ;  miss  him  and  miss  all. 

Now  if  ever  you  would  get  an  interest  in  Christ,  and  so  by  gaining 
an  interest  in  him,  be  possessed  of  all  the  riches  and  glory  that  come 
by  him,  then  be  sure  to  get  your  hearts  possessed  with  these  nine  prin- 
ciples that  follow. 

[1.]  And  the  first  principle  is  this,  That  the  great  end  and, 
design  of  Christ's  coming '  into  the  world  was  the  salvation  of 
sinners. 

Get  this  principle  rooted  in  your  spirits.  '  I  came  not  to  call  the 
righteous,'  saith  he,  '  but  sinners  to  repentance,'  Mat.  ix.  13,  Mark  ii.  17. 
And  in  1  Tim.  i.  [5,'  This  is  a  faithful  saying,  and  worthy  of  all  accep- 
tation, that  Christ  Jesus  came  into  the  world  to  save  sinners.'  Christ 
lays  aside  his  royal  crown  ;  he  puts  off  his  glorious  robe ;  he  leaves  his 
Father's  bosom  ;  he  takes  a  journey  from  heaven  to  earth  ;  and  all  to 
save  poor  lost  sinners.     That  which  Christ  had  most  in  his  eye,  and 


204  THE  UNSEAKCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

upon  his  heart,  in  his  coming  into  the  world,  was  the  salvation  of  sinners. 
Lay  up  this  truth,  feed  upon  this  honey-comb. 

[2.]  Secondly,  Get  this  principle  rooted  upon  your  hearts,  viz.. 
That  none  ever  yet  obtained  an  interest  in  Christ  hut  unworthy 
creatures. 

When  you  are  pressed  to  get  an  interest  in  Christ,  you  are  ready 
to  say.  Oh  '  I  am  unworthy,'  will  Christ  ever  look  after  such  a  one  as 
I  am? 

I  answer,  yes  ;  for  this  is  a  most  certain  principle,  that  none  ever 
attained  an  interest  in  Christ  but  unworthy  creatures.  Was  Paul 
worthy  before  he  had  an  interest  in  Christ  ?  What  worthiness  was  in 
Matthew  when  Christ  called  him  from  the  receipt  of  custom  ?  And 
what  worthiness  was  in  Zaccheus  when  Christ  called  him  down  from 
the  sycamore  tree,  and  told  him  that  this  day  salvation  was  come  to  his 
house  ?  Was  Manasseh  or  Mary  Magdalene  worthy  before  they  had  an 
interest  in  Christ  ?  Surely  no.  Though  you  are  unworthy,  yet  Christ 
is  worthy  ;  though  you  have  no  merit,  yet  God  has  mercy  ;  though 
there  is  no  salvation  for  you  by  the  law,  yet  there  is  salvation  for  you 
by  the  gospel. 

Again,  Christ  requires  no  worthiness  in  any  man  before  he  believes  ; 
and  he  that  won't  believe  before  he  is  worthy  will  never  believe.^  If 
you  look  upon  God  with  an  evangelical  eye,  you  shall  see  that  he  that 
is  most  unworthy  is  most  capable  of  mercy.  A  real  sense  of  our  own 
unworthiness  renders  us  most  fit  for  divine  mercy.  This  objection,  I 
am  unworthy,  is  an  unworthy  objection,  and  speaks  out  much  pride 
and  ignorance  of  the  gospel,  and  of  the  freeness  and  riches  of  God's 
grace,  &c. 

[3.]  Thirdly,  Let  this  principle  dwell  in  you,  viz.,  That  Christ 
hath  lost  none  of  his  affections  to  poor  sinners  by  going  to 
heaven. 

Oh  how  did  his  bowels  work  toward  sinners  when  he  was  on  earth  ! 
And  certainly  they  work  as  strongly  towards  them  now  he  is  in  heaven. 
His  love,  his  heart,  his  good-will,  is  as  much  towards  them  as  ever. 
Christ  is  Alpha  and  Omega  ;  the  phrase  is  taken  from  the  Greek  let- 
ters, whereof  Alpha  is  the  first,  and  Omega  the  last,  Rev.  i.  8.  I  am 
before  all,  and  I  am  after  all.  '  Jesus  Christ,  the  same  yesterday,  to- 
day, and  for  ever,'  Heb.  xiii.  8.  [Vide  Grotius.]  Christ  is  the  same 
before  time,  in  time,  and  after  time.  Christ  is  unchangeable  in  his 
essence,  in  his  promises,  and  in  his  love  to  poor  sinners. 

[4.]  Fourthly,  Get  this  principle  riveted  in  your  hearts,  That 
he  is  able  to  save  to  the  uttermost  all  those  that  come  unto  God  by 
him. 

Heb.  vii.  25,  '  He  is  able  to  save  to  the  uttermost  ;'^  that  is,  to  all 
ends  and  purposes,  perfectly  and  perpetually.  He  needs  none  to  help 
him  in  the  great  business  of  redemption  ;  he  is  thorough  Saviour ;  '  he 
has  trod  the  wine-press  alone,'  Isa.  Ixiii.  3. 

[5.]  Fifthly,  Get  this  principle  riveted  in  your  hearts.  That  the 
want  of  such  preparations  or  qualifications  that  many  men  lay 
a  great  stress  upon,  shall  be  no  impediment  to  hinder  your  souVs 

>  Sucli  as  shall  go  to  prove  he  does,  imist  make  a  new  gospel,  a  new  Bible. 
*  tli  70  iravTsXf;.     The  original  word  signifies  all  manner  of  perfection. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  205 

interest  in  Christ,  if  you  will  hut  open  to  Christ,  and  close  with  Jesus 
Christ' 

Kev.  iii.  20,  '  Behold,  I  stand  at  the  door,  and  knock :  if  any  man 
hear  my  voice,  and  open  to  me,  I  will  come  in  to  him,  and  will  sup  with 
him,  and  he  with  me.'  Pray  tell  me  at  whose  door  was  this  that  Christ 
stood  and  knocked  ?  Was  it  not  at  the  Laodiceans'  door  ?  Was  it  not 
at  their  door  that  thought  their  penny  as  good  silver  as  any  ?  that 
said  they  were  rich,  and  had  need  of  nothing,  when  Christ  tells  them 
to  their  very  faces,  *  that  they  were  poor,  and  miserable,  and  blind,  and 
naked.'  None  more  unprepared,  unqualified,  and  unfitted  for  union 
and  communion  with  Christ  than  these  lukewarm  Laodicean s  ;  and  yet 
the  Lord  Jesus  is  very  ready  and  willing  that  such  should  have  inti- 
mate communion  and  fellowship  with  him. 

*  If  any  man  will  open,  I  will  come  in  to  him,  and  will  sup  with  him, 
and  he  with  me.'  The  truth  of  this  you  have  further  evidenced,  Prov. 
i.  20-24,  and  viii.  1-6,  and  ix.  1-6.  All  these  scriptures  with  open 
mouth  speak  out  the  truth  asserted,  viz..  That  the  want  of  preparations 
or  qualifications  shall  not  hinder  the  soul's  interest  in  Christ,  if  the 
soul  will  adventure  itself  by  faith  upon  Christ.  I  pray,  what  qualifica- 
tions and  preparations  had  they  in  Ezek.  xvi.,  when  God  saw  them  in 
their  blood,  and  yet  that  was  a  time  of  love,  and  God  even  then  spread 
his  skirt  over  them,  and  made  a  covenant  with  them,  and  they  became 
his.  What  qualifications  or  preparations  had  Paul,  Mary  Magdalene, 
Zaccheus,  and  Lydia,  &c.  ?  And  yet  these  believed  in  Christ,  these  had 
a  blessed  and  glorious  interest  in  Christ,  &c. 

Ay,  but  some  may  object,  and  say, 

Obj.  What  is  the  meaning  of  that  text.  Mat.  xi.  28,  '  Come  unto  me, 
all  you  that  are  weary  and  heavy  laden,  and  I  will  give  you  rest '  ? 

Ans.  Ihere  is  a  threefold  answer  to  be  given  to  this  objection. 

First,  Though  the  invitation  be  to  those  that  are  weary  and  heavy 
laden,  yet  the  promise  is  made  to  coming,  to  believing.^ 

Secondly,  This  text  shews  only  this,  that  those  that  are  burdened 
and  bowed  down  under  sin,  and  under  the  sense  of  divine  wrath,  are 
to  come  to  Christ,  and  that  there  is  no  way  for  them  to  obtain  ease 
and  rest  but  by  coming  to  Christ.  But  this  text  doth  not  shew  that 
only  these  must  come  to  Christ,  or  that  only  these  may  come  to  Christ. 

Thirdly,  and  lastly.  No  one  scripture  speaks  out  the  whole  mind  of 
God  f  and  therefore  you  must  compare  and  consult  this  scripture  with 
the  scriptures,  and  instances  lately  cited,  and  then  you  will  clearly  see 
that  souls  may  believe  in  Christ,  and  come  to  obtain  an  interest  in 
Christ,  though  they  are  not  so  and  so  prepared,  nor  so  and  so  qualified, 
as  some  would  have  them. 

[6.]  Sixthly,  Get  this  principle  rooted  in  your  hearts,  That  Christ  is 

'  Some  men  there  be  that  would  have  men  better  Christians  before  they  come  to 
Christ,  before  they  believe  in  Christ,  than  usually  they  prove  after  they  are  come  to 
Christ.  Surely,  did  legal  preachers  seriously  weigh  the  following  scriptures,  they  would 
not  so  vehemently,  I  say  not  nngerly,  press  the  absolute  necessity  of  such  and  such 
qualifications  before  faith  in  Christ,  as  they  do  :  Mark  xvi.  16  ;  John  iii.  34  ;  Heb.  xi.  6  ; 
Rom.  xiv.  28  ;  John  v.  12  ;  Mat.  vii.  17,  18,  xii.  33 ;  Rom.  viii.  2  ;  Gal.  v.  6. 

2  The  dove  found  no  rest  till  she  returned  to  the  ark.  No  more  will  the  troubled  soul 
till  it  returns  to  Christ. 

^  Adoro  plinitudinem  Scripturarum. — Tertullian, 


206  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

appointed  and  anointed  by  the  Father  to  this  very  offi.ce  of  receiv- 
ing and  saving  poor  sinners} 

Turn  to  Isa.  Ixi.  1-4,  John  vi.  28,  and  Ps.  Ixviii.  18,  '  Thou  hast 
ascended  on  high,  thou  hast  led  captivity  captive  ;  thou  hast  received 
gifts  for  men ;  yea,  for  the  rebellious  also  (what  for  ?),  that  the  Lord 
God  might  dwell  among  them.'  Christ  has  received  gifts  for  rebellious 
sinners,  for  rebellious  Sabbath  breakers,  for  rebellious  swearers,  for 
rebellious  drunkards,  &c. 

*  That  the  Lord  God  might  dwell  among  them.'  That  is,  that  he 
might  have  near  communion  and  fellowship  with  them. 

[7.]  Seventhly,  Get  this  principle  rooted  in  you.  That  it  is  the  de- 
light of  Christ  to  give  poor  sinners  an  interest  in  himself. 

He  is  not  only  able  to  do  it,  but  it  is  his  delight  to  do  it.  Christ's 
soul  is  in  nothing  more.  Witness  his  leaving  his  Father's  bosom  ;  wit- 
ness his  laying  down  his  crown  ;  witness  those  many  sufferings  and 
deaths  that  he  went  through  in  this  world  ;  witness  those  gospel  accla- 
mations, Mark  xvi.  16,  Rev.  xxii.  17  ;  witness  those  persuasive  exhorta- 
tions and  gracious  impetrations  and  entreaties,  Ezek.  liii.  11,  Mat.  xi.  28, 
2  Cor.  V.  20 ;  witness  divine  injunctions  and  comminations,  1  John. 
V.  23,  Mat.  xi.  21  ;  witness  those  pathetical  lamentations.  Mat.  xxiii.  87, 
Luke  xix.  42,  Ps.  Ixxxi.  13  ;  and  witness  the  inward  motions  and  secret 
excitations  of  his  blessed  Spirit,  Gen.  vi.  3,  all  which  speak  out  his 
great  willingness  and  delight  to  save  poor  sinners ;  so  in  Ps.  xl.  7,  8, 
'  I  delight  to  do  thy  will,  O  my  God  ;  thy  law  is  in  my  heart ;'  or,  as  the 
Hebrew  hath  it,  '•y»  linn,  '  It  is  in  the  midst  of  my  bowels.'  Now 
mark,  the  will  of  the  Father  was  the  salvation  of  sinners.  This  was 
the  will  of  the  Father,  '  That  Jesus  Christ  should  seek  and  save  them 
that  are  lost,'  Mat.  xviii.  1 1 .  Now,  saith  Christ,  '  I  delight  to  do  thy 
will,  O  my  God  ;'  it  is  the  joy  and  rejoicing  of  my  heart  to  be  a-seeking 
and  a-saving  lost  sinners.  When  Christ  was  a.n  hungry,  he  went  not 
into  a  victualling  house,  but  into  the  temple,  and  taught  the  people 
most  part  of  the  day,  to  shew  how  much  he  delighted  in  the  salvation 
of  sinners,  &c.^ 

[8.]  Eighthly,  Get  this  principle  riveted  in  your  hearts.  That  as  there 
is  nothing  in  Christ  to  discourage  you  from  looking  after  an  interest 
in  him,  so  there  is  everything  in  Christ  that  m,ay  encourage  you  to 
get  an  interest  in  hinfi. 

Look  upon  his  name  :^  '  Thy  name  is  an  ointment  poured  out,  and 
therefore  do  the  virgins  love  thee,'  Cant,  i.  3.  The  name  of  Jesus  hath 
a  thousand  treasures  of  joy  and  comfort  in  it,  saith  Chrysostom  ;  and  so 
hath  all  his  other  names.  If  you  look  upon  Christ  in  his  natures,  in 
his  offices,  in  his  graces,  in  his  beauties,  in  his  gifts,  and  in  his  works, 
you  will  find  nothing  but  what  may  encourage  you  to  believe  in  him, 
and  to  resign  up  yourselves  to  him.  Ah,  poor  sinners,  what  would  you 
have  ?     Is  there  not  power  in  Christ  to  support  you,  and  mercy  in 

1  Moses  was  faithful  in  his  office  as  a  servant,  but  Christ  as  a  Son,  Heb.  iii.  2-6. 
Christ  had  never  entered  into  glory  had  he  not  been  faithful  in  his  offices,  &c. 

'^  Christ  did  so  much  delight,  and  his  heart  was  so  much  set  upon  the  conversion  and 
salvation  of  the  Samaritans,  that  he  neglected  his  own  body  to  save  their  souls,  as  you 
may  clearly  see  in  John  iv. 

3  The  name  of  a  Saviour  is  honey  in  the  mouth,  and  music  in  the  ear,  and  a  jubilee 
in  the  heart,  saith  one.     [Bernard,  as  before. — G.] 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  207 

Christ  to  pardon  you,  and  grace  in  Christ  to  heal  you,  and  goodness  in 
Christ  to  reheve  you,  and  happiness  in  Christ  to  crown  you,  and  what 
would  you  have  more  ?     Oh  that  you  would  believe  ! 

[9.]  Ninthly,  Let  this  principle  be  rooted  in  you,  That  the  surest  way, 
and  the  shortest  cut  to  mercy,  and  to  get  an  interest  in  Christ,  is  by 
a  peremptory  casting  of  the  soul  by  faith  on  Christ 

There  is  no  way  under  heaven  to  be  interested  in  Christ  but  by  be- 
lieving. There  is  no  way  to  get  an  interest  in  the  riches  of  Christ  but 
this, '  he  that  believes  shall  be  saved,'  let  his  sins  be  never  so  great; 
'  and  he  that  believes  not,  shall  be  damned,'  let  his  sins  be  never  so 
little.^  And  so  much  shall  suffice  to  have  spoken  concerning  this  great 
and  weighty  point.  I  shall  follow  what  hath  been  said  with  my 
prayers,  that  what  has  been  said  may  work  for  your  internal  and  eternal 
welfare,  &c. 

Unto  me,  who  am  less  than  the  least  of  all  saints,  is  this  grace  given, 
that  I  should  preach  among  the  Gentiles,  the  unsearchable  riches  of 
Christ,  Eph.  iii.  8. 

There  are  other  two  observations  that  arise  from  these  words.  I  shall, 
by  divine  assistance,  speak  something  to  them,  and  so  finish  this  text. 
And  the  first  is  this,  viz., 

Doct.  That  it  is  the  great  duty  of  preachers  to  preach  Jesus  Christ 
to  the  people. 

*  To  me,  who  am  less  than  the  least  of  all  saints,  is  this  grace  given, 
that  I  should  preach  among  the  Gentiles  the  unsearchable  riches  of 
Christ.' 

It  is  the  great  duty  of  ministers  to  preach  the  Lord  Christ  to  the 
people. 

I  shall  prove  it,  and  then  open  it  to  you. 

I.  In  Acts  V.  42,  '  And  daily  in  the  temple,  and  in  every  house,  they 
ceased  not  to  teach  and  preach.'  What?  Jesus  Christ.  So  in  Acts 
iii.  20,  '  And  he  shall  send  Jesus  Christ,  which  before  was  preached 
unto  you/  So  in  1  Cor.  i.  23,  24,  and  2  Cor.  iv.  5,  '  We  preach  not 
ourselves,  but  Christ  Jesus  the  Lord  ;  and  ourselves  your  servants  for 
Jesus'  sake.'  So  in  Acts  iv.  2,  and  ii.  85,  and  ix.  20.  As  soon  as  Paul 
was  converted,  straightway  he  preached  Christ  in  the  synagogue,  that 
he  was  the  Son  of  God. 

Now  for  the  opening  of  the  point,  I  shall  only  attempt  two  things. 

(1.)  Give  you  the  reasons  why  it  is  the  great  duty  of  ministers  to 
preach  Christ  to  the  people. 

(2.)  Which  will  be  the  main,  to  shew  you  how  they  are  to  preach 
Christ  to  the  people. 

I  confess  this  a  very  useful  point  in  these  days,  wherein  many  men 
preach  anything,  yea,  everything  but  a  crucified  Jesus.  Well,  Christians, 
remember  this,  as  it  is  your  duty  to  take  heed  how  you  hear,  so  it  is  as 
much  your  duty  to  take  heed  who  you  hear.  Many  there  are  that  count 
and  call  themselves  the  ministers  of  Christ,  and  yet  have  neither  skill 
nor  will  to  preach  Jesas  Christ,  to  exalt  and  lift  up  Jesus  Christ  in  lip 

•  John  iii.  16-18,  36,  and  viii.  24,  and  xvi.  9,  and  iv.  50,  53,  and  v.  24,  and  vi.  35,  40, 
and  vii.  38,  and  xi.  25,  26,  and  xii.  46  ;  Acts  x.  43  ;  Rom.  iii.  26  ;  1  John  v.  10-12. 


208  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EpH.  III.  8. 

or  life,  in  word  or  work.  A  sad  reckoning  these  will  have  to  make  up 
at  last. 

II.  But  to  come  to  the  reasons  of  the  point,  why  it  is  the  great  work 
and  duty  of  ministers  to  preach  Jesus  Christ  to  the  people.^ 

[1.]  First,  Because  that  is  the  only  way  to  save  and  to  win  souls  to 
Jesus  Christ 

There  is  no  other  way  of  winning  and  saving  souls,  but  by  the  preach- 
ing of  Christ  to  the  people.  In  Acts  iv.  10-12  compared,  'Neither  is 
there  salvation  in  any  other  :  for  there  is  none  other  name  under 
heaven  given  among  men,  whereby  we  must  be  saved.'  You  may 
preach  this  and  that,  and  a  thousand  things  to  the  people,  and  yet 
never  better  them,  never  win  them.  It  is  only  preaching  of  Christ, 
that  allures  and  draws  souls  to  Christ :  John  xvii.  3,  '  This  is  life  eternal, 
to  know  thee  the  only  true  God,  and  Jesus  Christ  whom  thou  hast  sent.' 
Ah,  nothing  melts  the  hearts  of  sinners,  nor  wins  upon  the  hearts  of 
sinners,  like  the  preaching  of  the  Lord  Jesus.  It  is  true,  the  teaching 
of  this  and  that  opinion,  may  please  many  a  man's  fancy,  but  it  is  only 
the  preaching  of  Christ  that  changes  the  heart,  that  conquers  the  heart, 
that  turns  the  heart,  &c.  Peter,  by  preaching  of  a  crucified  Christ,  con- 
verts three  thousand  souls  at  once.  Acts  ii.  14-42.  Were  Christ  more 
preached,  men  would  be  more  enamoured  with  him.  He  is  only  pre- 
cious to  them  that  hear  of  him,  and  that  believe  in  him.  Christ  is  in 
all  respects  incomparable  ;  and  therefore,  as  you  would  honour  him,  and 
win  upon  others,  make  him  more  and  more  known  to  the  world, 
1  Peter  ii.  7,  &c. 

[2.]  Secondly,  They  are  to  preach  Christ  to  the  people,  because  it  is 
the  choicest  and  the  chiefest  way  to  ingratiate  Christ  with  poor 
souls. 

This  brings  Christ  and  the  soul  together,  and  this  keeps  Christ  and 
the  soul  together.  Nothing  endears  Christ  to  the  soul  like  this.  We 
see,  by  woful  experience,  Christ  neglected,  despised,  scorned,  and 
trampled  upon  by  most  ;  and  no  wonder,  for  many  preach  themselves 
more  than  Christ,  and  they  preach  men  more  than  Christ,  and  their 
own  notions  and  impressions  more  than  Christ.  Surely  Christ  is  but 
little  beholding  to  such  ministers,  and,  I  think,  the  souls  of  men  as  little ; 
and  oh  that  they  were  so  wise  as  to  consider  of  it,  and  lay  it  to  heart ! 
Surely  a  real  Christian  cares  not  for  anything  that  hath  not  aliquid 
Christi,  something  of  Christ  in  it.  There  is  a  strange  and  strong  energy 
or  forcibleness  in  hearing  Christ  and  his  beauties  and  excellencies  dis- 
played and  discovered.^ 

The  daughters  of  Jerusalem,  by  hearing  the  church  presenting  Christ 
in  so  high  a  character,  and  by  describing  and  painting  him  out  in  such 
lively  colours,  are  so  enchanted  and  inflamed  that,  might  they  but  know 
where  to  find  him,  they  would  be  at  any  pains  to  seek  him.  When 
Christ  is  set  forth  in  his  glories,  with  much  affection  and  admiration, 
others  fall  in  love  with  him,  as  you  may  see  by  comparing  Cant.  v.  10, 
seq.,  with  chap.  vi.  1. 

1  Jewel,  Cowper,  and  others,  had  no  such  pleasure  or  joy  as  they  had  in  preaching 
Christ  unto  the  people.     [The  *  Bishops '  of  these  names.— G.] 

2  Martian,  archbishop  of  Constantinople,  said  once  of  Sabbatius,  a  wretched  and  un- 
worthy man,  whom  he  had  ordained  to  be  a  presbyter,  We  wish  we  had  rather  laid  our 
hands  on  the  briars  than  on  such  heads. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHEIST.  209 

[3.]  Thirdly,  It  is  their  great  duty  to  preach  Jesus  Christ  to  the 
people,  because  the  preaching  up  of  Christ  is  the  only  way  to  preach 
down  antichrist,  or  whatever  makes  against  Christ. 

Some  would  have  antichrist  dowD,  yea,  they  would  have  him  down 
root  and  branch,  but  there  is  no  such  way  for  his  total  and  final  over- 
throw as  the  preaching  of  Christ;  for  the  more  the  glory,  fulness,  perfec- 
tion, and  excellency  of  Christ  is  discovered,  the  more  the  horrid  vileness 
and  matchless  wickedness  of  the  man  of  sin  will  be  discovered  and  ab- 
horred, &c. :  2  Thes.  ii.  3,  4,  7-10,  *  And  then  shall  that  wicked  one  be 
revealed/  The  Greek  word  properly  signifies  a  lawless,  yokeless, 
masterless  monster  ;  one  that  holdeth  himself  subject  to  no  law/ 

Pope  Nicholas  the  First  said  *  that  he  was  above  law,'  because  Con- 
stantino styled  the  pope  God  ;  and  of  the  same  opinion  were  most  of 
the  popes. 

'  Whom  he  shall  consume.'  The  Greek  word  signifies  to  consume  by 
little  and  little,  till  a  thing  come  to  nothing. 

*  With  the  spirit  of  his  mouth.'  That  is,  with  the  evidence  and  glory 
of  his  word  in  the  mouths  of  his  messengers.  The  ministers  of  the 
word  are  as  a  mouth  whereby  the  Lord  breatheth  out  that  glorious, 
mighty,  and  everlasting  gospel  which  shall  by  degrees  bruise  anti- 
christ and  all  his  adherents,  and  break  them  in  sunder  like  a  rod  of 
iron,  &c. 

When  Christ  was  born,  all  the  idols  that  were  set  up  in  the  world, 
as  historians  write,  fell  down.  When  Jesus  Christ  comes  to  be  lifted 
up  in  a  nation,  in  a  city,  in  a  town,  in  a  family,  yea,  in  any  heart,  then 
all  idols  without  and  within  will  fall  before  the  power,  presence,  and 
glory  of  Jesus.  Since  Luther  began  to  lift  up  Christ  in  the  gospel, 
what  a  deal  of  ground  has  antichrist  lost !  and  he  does  and  will  lose 
more  and  more,  as  Christ  comes  to  be  more  and  more  manifested  and 
lifted  up  in  the  chariot  of  his  word.  Many  in  these  days  that  speak 
much  against  antichrist,  have  much  of  antichrist  within  them.  And 
certainly  there  is  no  such  way  to  cast  him  out  of  men's  hearts,  and  out 
of  the  world,  as  the  preaching  and  making  known  of  Christ,  as  the  ex- 
alting or  lifting  up  of  Christ  in  the  gospel  of  grace.^ 

[4.]  A  fourth  reason  why  they  are  to  preach  Christ  to  the  people  is 
this,  because  else  they  controxit  upon  themselves  the  blood  of  souls. 

There  is  no  other  way  for  them  to  avoid  the  contracting  of  the  blood 
of  men  and  women's  souls  upon  them,  but  the  preaching  of  Christ 
unto  them/  Now,  a  man  were  better  to  have  all  the  blood  of  the  world 
upon  him  than  the  blood  of  one  soul.  The  blood  of  souls,  of  all  blood, 
cries  loudest  and  wounds  deepest.  The  lowest,  the  darkest,  and  the 
hottest  place  in  hell  will  be  the  sad  and  dreadful  portion  of  such  upon 
whose  skirts  the  blood  of  souls  shall  be  found  at  last.     Hence  that  pas- 

'  In  the  canon  law  the  pope  is  said  to  he  solutus  omni  lege  humana, 

*  Bellarmine  confesseth,  to  his  great  grief,  that  ever  since  the  Lutherans  have  declared 
the  pope  to  be  antichrist,  his  kingdom  hath  not  only  not  increased,  but  every  day  more 
and  more  decreased  and  decayed. — Lib.  iii.  de  Papa  Rom.,  cap.  31. 

'  The  Germans  have  this  proverb  :  say  they,  The  pavement  of  hell  is  made  of  the  bare 
skulls  of  priests  and  the  glorious  crests  of  gallants.  Their  meaning  is,  that  the  more 
eminent  any  one  is  in  church  or  state,  and  doth  not  employ  his  eminency  accordingly, 
the  more  low  shall  they  lie  in  hell,  Rev.  xviii.  11-14. 

VOL.  IIL  O 


210  THE  UNSEARCHABLE.  [EPH.  III.  8. 

sage  of  Paul  in  1  Cor.  ix.  16,  *Woe  unto  me  if  I  preach  not  the  gospel.' 
The  motto  that  should  be  writ  upon  preachers'  study-doors,  and  on  their 
walls,  and  on  all  the  books  they  look  on,  on  the  beds  they  lie  on,  and 
on  the  seats  they  sit  on,  &c.,  should  be  this,  '  The  blood  of  souls,  the 
blood  of  souls/  The  soul  is  the  better,  the  noble  part  of  man  ;  it  bears 
most  of  the  image  of  God  ;  it  is  capable  of  union  and  communion  with 
God.  Christ  sweat  for  it,  and  bled  for  it ;  and  therefore  woe  to  those 
merchants  that  make  merchandise  of  the  souls  of  men.  This  was  a 
comfort  and  an  honour  to  Paul,  that  he  kept  himself  from  the  blood  of 
souls.  Acts  XX.  25-27.  He  appeals  to  them  that  they  were  witnesses 
that  *  he  was  free  from  the  blood  of  all  men.'  Paul  had  held  out  Jesus 
Christ  in  his  natures,  in  his  names,  in  his  oflSces,  and  in  all  his  excel- 
lencies and  perfections,  and  so  frees  himself  from  the  blood  of  all  men. 
And  ministers  can  no  way  secure  themselves  from  the  blood  of  souls, 
but  by  preaching  up  and  living  out  a  crucified  Jesus. 

[5.]  The  last  reason  is  this,  because  the  ]pTeacliing  of  Christ  con- 
tributes most  to  their  comfort  here,  and  to  their  reward  hereafter  ; 
therefore  they  are  to  preach  the  Lord  Christ  to  the  people. 

When  Luther  was  upon  a  dying  bed,  this  was  no  small  joy  and  com- 
fort to  his  spirit.  *  Thee,  0  Lord,'  saith  he,  '  have  I  known,  thee  have  I 
loved,  thee  have  I  taught,  thee  have  I  trusted,  and  now  into  thy  hand 
I  commend  my  spirit.'  There  can  be  no  greater  joy  to  a  minister  than, 
by  preaching  Christ,  to  win  souls  to  Christ :  1  Thes.  ii.  19,  20,  '  For 
what  is  our  hope,  or  joy,  or  crown  of  rejoicing?  Are  not  even  ye  in 
the  presence  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ  at  his  coming.  Ye  are  our  glory 
and  joy.'  They  that  by  preaching  Christ  win  souls  to  Christ  shall  shine 
as  the  stars  in  the  firmament,  Dan.  xii.  3.  Every  soul  won  to  Christ  is 
a  glorious  pearl  added  to  a  preacher's  crown  :  1  Peter  v.  4,  '  And  when 
the  chief  Shepherd  shall  appear,  you  shall  receive  a  crown  of  glory.' 
A  crown  imports  perpetuity,  plenty,  and  dignity,  the  height  of  human 
ambition.* 

It  is  the  opinion  of  some  that  there  are  three  places  of  exaltation  in 
heaven  : 

The  first  and  highest  is  for  converting  ministers. 

The  second  is  for  suffering  martyrs. 

The  third  is  for  persevering  Christians. 

Without  doubt,  those  ministers  shall  be  high  in  heaven  who  make  it 
their  heaven  to  hold  forth  Christ,  and  to  win  souls  to  Christ ;  who  are 
willing  to  be  anything,  to  be  nothing,  that  Christ  may  be  all  in  all  to 
poor  souls.     And  thus  I  have  given  you  the  reasons  of  the  point. 

I  shall  now  come  to  the  second  thing,  which  is  the  main,  and  that  is, 
to  shew  you, 

II.  How  ministers  are  to  preach  Christ  to  the  people. 

Many  weak  and  slight  spirits  in  these  days  think  that  it  is  as  easy  to 
preach  as  to  play,  and  so  they  hop  from  one  thing  to  another,  and  those 
that  are  not  qualified  nor  fit  for  the  least  and  lowest  employment,  yet 
judge  themselves  fit  enough  for  the  greatest  and  the  weightiest  em- 
ployment in  the  world,  and  that  which  would  certainly  break  the  backs, 
not  only  of  the  best  and  strongest  men,  but  even  of  the  very  angels, 

'  Bernard  comfortably  observes  that  ministers  have  their  reward  secundum  labor  em, 
not  tecundum  proventum. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  211 

should  not  God  put  under  his  *  everlasting  arms.'  No  labour  to  that 
of  the  mind,  no  travail  to  that  of  the  soul,  and  those  that  are  faithful 
in  the  Lord's  vineyard  find  it  so.  Luther  was  wont  to  say  that  if  he 
were  again  to  choose  his  calling,  he  would  dig,  or  do  anything,  rather 
than  take  upon  him  the  office  of  a  minister.^  And  many  other  eminent 
lights  have  been  of  the  same  opinion  with  him.^ 

But  what  are  those  rules  that  every  preacher  is  to  observe  in  his 
preaching  of  Christ  to  the  people  f 
I  answer.  These  eleven  : 

[1.]  First,  Jesus  Christ  must  be  preached  pZami^i/,  perspicuously,  so 
as  the  meanest  capacity  may  understand  whai  they  say  concerning 
Christ.     They  must   preach    Christ  for  edification,  and  not  to  work 
admiration,  as  too  many  do  in  these  days.     Paul  was  excellent  at  this 
kind  of  preaching,  1  Cor.  xiv.  18,  19.     He  had  rather  speak  five  words 
to  edification  than  ten  thousand  words  to  work  admiration  in  ignorant 
people.     So  in  1  Cor.  ii.  4,  5,  *  And  my  speech  and  my  preaching  was 
not  with  enticing  words  of  man's  wisdom,  but  in  demonstration  of  the 
Spirit  and  of  power  ;  that  your  faith  should  not  stand  in  the  wisdom 
of  men,  but  in  the  power  of  God  ;'^  as  if  he  should  say,  such  preach  with 
little  power  who  come  with  the  excellency  of  speech,  or  with  the  en- 
ticing  words    of  man's  wisdam.     Ah !  many  there   are, — I    speak   it 
with  grief,  and  to  their  shame, — that  delight  to  soar  aloft  in  obscure  dis- 
courses, and  to  express  themselves  in  new-minted  words  and  phrases, 
and  to  shew  high  strains  and  flashes  of  wit,  and  all  ta  work  admiration 
in  the  ignorant.     Such  kind  of  preachers  are  as  clouds,  and  painted 
glass  windows,  that  hinder  the  light  from  shining  in  upon  souls,  that 
hinder  the  sun  of  righteousness  from  breaking  forth  in  his  beauty  and 
glory  upon  the  spirits  of  poor  creatures.     Woe  unto  these  men  in  the 
day  when  such  souls  shall  plead  against  them,  when  they  shall  say. 
Lord,  here  are  the  persons  whose  office  and  work  was  to  make  dark 
things  plain,  and  they  have  made  plain  things  dark  and  obscure,  that 
Ave   might  rather  wonder  at  them  than  any  ways  profit  by  them.* 
Aaron's  bells  were  of  pure  gold.    Our  whole  preaching  must  be  Scripture 
proof,  or  we  and  our  works  must  burn  together.     The  profoundest  pro- 
phets accommodated   themselves  to  their  hearers'  capacities.*     Holy 
Moses  covers  his  glistering  face  with  a  veil  when  he  was  to  speak  to  the 
people.     Yea,  it  is  very  observable  that  the  evangelists  spake  vulgarly 
many  times  for  their  hearers'  sake,  even  to  manifest  incongruity,  as  you 
may  see  in  John  xvii.  2,  Kev.  i.  4.     But  above  all,  it  is  most  observable 
concerning  God  the  Father,  who  is  the  great  Master  of  speech,  when  he 
spake  from  heaven,  he  makes  use  of  three  several  texts  of  Scripture  in 
one  breath  :  Mat.  xvii.  5,  '  This  is  my  beloved  Son,  in  whom  I  am  well 

^  Cf.  Sibbes,  vol.  iv.  309,  485.— G. 

'  2  Cot.  ii.  16,  *  Who  is  sufficient  for  these  things?'  Almost  every  upstart  in  these 
days  thinks  himself  sufficient.  '  Who  am  I  ?'  says  Moses.  Who  am  I  not?  saith  every 
green-head  in  tliese  days. 

3  Preaching  is  not  a  matter  of  parts,  words,  or  wit ;  it  is  Scripture  demonstration  that 
works  upon  the  conscience,  and  that  God  owns  and  crowns. 

*  It  was  a  saying  of  Luther  :  From  a  vain-glorious  doctor,  from  a  contentious  pastor, 
and  from  unprofitable  questions,  good  Lord  deliver  his  church !  ['  Table  Talk,'  as 
before. — G.] 

*  Si  vis  fieri  bonus  concionator,  da  operam  ut  sis  bonus  Biblicus.  If  you  will  be  a  good 
preacher,  study  to  be  well  acquainted  with  the  Scripture,  said  one  in  the  monastery. 


212  THE  UNSEAKCHABLE  [EPH.  Ill  8. 

pleased,  hear  him  ;'  'This  is  my  beloved  Son,'  that  scripture  you 
have  in  Ps.  ii.  7  ;  '  In  whom  I  am  well  pleased,'  this  you  have  in  Isa. 
xlii.  1  ;  '  Hear  him,'  this  you  have  in  Deut.  xviii.  15  ;  all  which  may 
bespeak  them  to  blush,  who  through  curious  wiseness  disdain  at  the 
stately  plainness  of  the  Scripture !  Oh  how  unlike  to  God  are  such 
preachers,  that  think  to  correct  the  divine  wisdom  and  eloquence  with 
their  own  infancy,  vanity,  novelty,  and  sophistry !  Yea,  Jesus  Christ 
himself,  the  great  doctor  of  the  church,  teaches  this  lesson :  Mark  iv. 
83,  '  And  with  many  such  parables  spake  he  the  word  unto  them,  as 
they  were  able  to  hear  it ;'  not  as  he  was  able  to  have  spoken.  He 
could  have  expressed  himself  at  a  higher  rate  than  all  mortals  can  ! 
he  could  have  been  in  the  clouds.  He  knew  how  to  knit  such  knots 
that  they  could  never  untie,  but  he  would  not.  He  delights  to  speak 
to  his  hearers'  shallow  capacities.  So  in  John  xvi.  12,  *  I  have  many 
things  to  say  unto  you,  but  you  cannot  bear  them  now.'  He  that  speaks 
not  to  the  hearers'  capacities  is  as  a  barbarian  to  them,  and  they  to  him. 

'  He  is  the  best  teacher,'  saith  Luther,  '  that  preaches  vulgarly,  that 
preaches  most  plainly.'  He  is  not  the  best  preacher  that  tickles  the 
ear,  or  that  works  upon  the  fancy,  &c.,  but  he  that  breaks  the  heart 
and  awakens  the  conscience.  It  is  sad  to  consider  how  many  preachers 
in  these  days  are  like  Heraclitus,  wbo  was  called  '  the  dark  doctor,' 
because  he  affected  dark  speeches.  Oh  how  do  many  in  these  days 
affect  sublime  notions,  uncouth  phrases,  making  plain  truths  difficult, 
and  easy  truths  hard  !  *  They  darken  counsel  by  words  without  know- 
ledge,' Job  xxxviii.  2.  But  how  unlike  to  Christ,  the  prophets,  and 
apostles  these  dark  doctors  are,  I  will  leave  you  to  judge  ;  nor  would  I 
have  their  accounts  to  make  up  for  all  the  world  ;  I  will  leave  them  to 
stand  or  fall  to  their  own  Master.  God  loves,  owns,  and  crowns  plain 
preaching.  Though  some  account  it  foolishness,  yet  '  to  them  that  are 
saved,  it  is  the  power  of  God  and  the  wisdom  of  God,'  1  Cor.  i.  20-80. 
I  have  stayed  the  longer  upon  this  first  direction,  because  of  its  great 
usefulness  in  these  deluding  days. 

[2.]  Secondly,  As  they  must  preach  Christ  plainly,  so  they  must 
preach  Christ  faithfully,  Prov.  xiii.  17,  xxv.  1 8,  Job  xxxiii.  28.  Ministers 
are  stewards,  1  Cor.  iv.  2  ;  and  you  know  it  is  the  duty  of  a  steward  to  be 
faithful  in  his  stewardship,  to  give  to  every  man  the  portion  that  is  due 
to  him,  cheering  up  those  hearts  that  God  would  have  cheered,  and 
weakening  those  wicked  hands  that  God  would  have  weakened,  and 
strengthening  those  feeble  knees  that  God  would  have  strengthened. 
Ministers  are  ambassadors  ;  and  you  know  it  is  the  great  concernment 
of  ambassadors  to  be  very  faithful  in  their  master's  messages.  God 
looks  more,  and  is  affected  and  taken  more,  with  a  minister's  faithful- 
ness than  with  anything  else.  A  great  voice,  an  affected  tone,  studied 
notions,  and  silken  expressions,  may  affect  and  take  poor  weak  souls  ; 
but  it  is  only  the  faithfulness  of  a  minister  in  his  ministerial  work  that 
takes  God,  that  wins  upon  God  :  Mat.  xxv.  21-28,  '  Well  done,  good  and 
faithful  servant ;  enter  thou  into  the  joy  of  the  Lord  :'  a  joy  too  big  to 
enter  into  thee,  and  therefore  thou  must  enter  into  it.  This  was  Paul's 
glory,  Acts  xx.  27,  that  he  '  had  not  shunned  to  declare  unto  them  the 
whole  counsel  of  God.'  Neither  fear  nor  favour  swayed  him  one  way 
or  another,  but  he  was  faithful  in  his  Master's  work,  and  usually  God 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  213 

crowns  him  and  his  labours  most,  and  sends  most  fish  into  his  net,  that 
is  most  faithful,  though  he  be  less  skilful ;  that  hath  more  of  the  heart 
in  the  work,  though  he  hath  less  of  the  brain.  ^ 

The  maid  in  Plutarch  being  to  be  sold  in  the  market,  when  a  chap- 
man asked  her, '  Wilt  thou  be  faithful  if  I  buy  thee  f  '  Ay/  said  she, 
etiamsi  non  emeris,  *  that  I  will  though  you  do  not  buy  me.'  So  minis- 
ters must  be  faithful,  though  God  should  not  buy  them,  though  he 
should  not  thus  and  thus  encourage  them  in  their  work.  Their  very 
feet  are  beautiful  who  are  faithful,  and  their  message  most  comfortable 
to  those  that  sigh  and  mourn,  that  labour  and  languish  under  the  sense 
of  sin  and  fear  of  wrath,  Isa.  Hi.  7. 

[3.]  Thirdly,  They  must  preach  Christ  humbly  as  well  as  faithfully  :^ 
2  Cor.  iv.  5, '  We  preach  not  ourselves,  but  Christ  Jesus  the  Lord,  and  our- 
selves your  servants  for  Jesus'  sake.'  Paul  doth  not  compliment  as  the  men 
of  the  world  do,  *  Your  servants,  sir,'  but  he  spake  as  it  was,  for  there 
are  no  greater  servants  than  those  that  are  servants  to  the  souls  of  men 
for  Jesus'  sake.  So  John  was  very  humble  in  the  exercise  of  his  ministry : 
John  iii.  30,  31,  '  He  must  increase,  but  I  must  decrease/  &c. 

Luther  used  to  say,  '  that  a  minister  must  take  heed  of  bringing  three 
dogs  into  the  pulpit,  viz.,  pride,  covetousness,  and  envy.'  The  friends  of 
the  bridegroom  must  not  woo  and  sue  for  themselves,  but  for  the  bride- 
groom. Dispensers  of  the  gospel  are  the  bridegroom's  friends,  and  they 
must  not  speak  one  word  for  the  bridegroom  and  two  for  themselves,  as 
hath  been  the  trade  of  many  weak  and  worthless  men.  It  is  the  greatest 
glory  of  a  minister  in  this  world  to  be  high  in  spiritual  work  and  humble 
in  heart.  Vain-glory  is  a  pleasant  thief ;  it  is  the  sweet  spoiler  of 
spiritual  excellencies.  Paul  was  very  humble  in  the  exercise  of  his 
ministry  :  none  so  high  in  worth  as  he,  nor  none  so  low  nor  humble  in 
heart  as  he.  Though  he  was  the  greatest  among  the  apostles,  yet  he 
accounts  himself  '  less  than  the  least  of  all  saints  /  yea,  he  counted  it 
not  only  his  duty  but  his  glory,  to  be  a  servant  to  the  weakest  saints : 
*  To  the  weak  I  became  as  weak  /  '  Who  is  weak,  and  I  am  not  weak  ? 
who  is  offended,  and  I  burn  not,'  1  Cor.  ix.  22,  2  Cor.  xi.  29. 

[4.]  Fourthly,  As  they  are  to  preach  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ  humbly, 
so  they  are  to  preach  him  wisely.  In  Prov.  xi.  30,  '  He  that  winneth 
souls  is  wise  /  and  indeed  the  greatest  wisdom  in  the  world  is  requisite 
to  the  winning  of  souls  to  Christ.  He  that  wins  souls,  or  he  that 
catcheth  souls,  as  the  fowler  doth  birds,  as  the  Hebrew  word  imports 
[  Velokeach,  taketh,  from  Lakach,  to  take],  or  fishermen  fishes,  '  he  is 
wise.'  There  is  a  holy  and  a  heavenly  craft  required  in  the  winning  of 
souls  to  Christ:  2  Cor.  xii.  16,  'Nevertheless  being  crafty,'  saith  the 
apostle,  *  I  caught  you  with  guile.'  He  speaks  of  a  holy  and  heavenly 
craft.^ 

It  is  written  of  the  fox,  that  when  he  is  very  hungry  after  prey,  and 
can  find  none,  that  he  lies  down  and  feigneth  himself  dead,  and  so  the 

1  The  office  of  a  minister  is  the  highest  office  ;  and  if  his  office  be  highest,  his  faith- 
fulness must  be  answerable,  or  he  will  be  doubly  miserable. 

2  Gregory  Nazianzen,  that  famous  preacher,  setteth  no  other  price  upon  all  his  Athen- 
ian learning,  wherein  he  excelled,  than  this,  that  he  had  something  of  worth  to  esteem 
as  nothing  in  comparison  of  Christ.     [Homil.  in  Humil. — G.] 

3  If  one  soul  is  more  worth  than  a  world,  as  he  hath  told  us,  who  only  went  to  the 
price  of  it.  Mat.  xvi.  26,  then  they  must  needs  be  wise  who  win  souls  to  Christ. 


214  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

fowls  light  upon  him,  and  then  he  catcheth  them.  Paul,  hungering  after 
the  welfare  of  the  Corinthians'  souls,  makes  use  of  his  heavenly  craft  to 
catch  them.  There  is  a  great  deal  of  wisdom  required  to  hold  out 
Christ  unto  the  people,  not  only  as  a  good,  but  as  the  greatest  good,  as 
the  choicest  good,  as  the  chiefest  good,  as  the  most  suitable  good,  as  an 
immutable  good,  as  an  independent  good,  as  a  total  good,  and  as  an 
eternal  good.  Christ  must  thus  be  held  forth  to  draw  souls  to  fall  in 
love  with  him,  and  to  work  their  hearts  to  run  out  after  him.  There 
is  wisdom  required  to  answer  all  cavils  and  objections  that  keep  Christ 
and  poor  souls  asunder.  There  is  wisdom  required  to  take  souls  off  from 
all  false  bottoms  that  they  are  apt  to  build  upon ;  there  is  wisdom 
required  to  present  Christ  freely  to  souls,  in  opposition  to  all  unright- 
eousness, and  to  all  unworthiness  in  man ;  there  is  wisdom  required 
to  suit  things  to  the  capacities  and  conditions  of  poor  souls,  to  make 
dark  things  plain,  and  hard  things  easy.  Ministers  must  not  be  like 
him  in  the  emblem^  that  gave  straw  to  the  dog  and  a  bone  to  the  ass  ; 
but  they  must  suit  all  their  discourses  to  the  conditions  and  capacities 
of  poor  creatures,  or  else  all  will  be  lost :  time  lost,  pains  lost,  God  lost, 
heaven  lost,  and  souls  lost  for  ever. 

[5.]  Fifthly,  They  must  preach  Christ,  i^ealoudy,  boldly,  as  well  as 
wisely,  Acts  iv.  20.  When  they  had  charged  them  that  they  should 
preach  no  more  in  tho  name  of  Christ,  Why,  say  they !  what  do  you 
tell  us  of  the  whip,  or  of  prisons,  or  of  this  and  that  ?  *  We  cannot  but 
speak  the  things  we  have  seen  and  heard.'  So  in  Jer.  xx.  9,  *  Thy  word 
was  in  my  heart  as  a  burning  fire  shut  up  in  my  bones,  and  I  was 
weary  with  forbearing,  and  I  could  not  stay;'  Isa.  Iviii.  J,  'Cry  aloud, 
spare  not ;  lift  up  thy  voice  like  a  trumpet,  and  shew  my  people  their 
transgression,  and  the  house  of  Israel  their  sins.'^  And  Isaiah  had  his 
tongue  touched  with  a  coal  of  fire  from  the  altar,  chap.  vi.  6,  7.  And 
when  the  disciples  were  to  go  and  preach  the  gospel,  the  fire  sat  upon 
their  tongues.  Acts  ii.  34'  The  worst  of  men  are  in  a  dead  sleep,  and 
the  best  of  men  are  too  often  in  a  sinful  slumber,  as  the  spouse  in  Cant. 
V.  2,  and  the  wise  virgins  in  Mat.  xxv. ;  and  therefore  faithful  ministers 
liad  need  cry  aloud ;  they  had  need  to  be  courageous  and  zealous,  to 
awaken  both  sinners  and  saints,  that  none  may  go  sleeping  to  hell. 
Every  coward  is  a  murderer,  as  the  philosopher  well  observed,*  The 
cowardice  of  the  minister  is  cruelty  ;  if  he  fear  the  faces  of  men  he  is  a 
murderer  of  the  souls  of  men.  Ministers  must  say,  as  Hector  in  Homer, 
'  I  will  combat  with  him,  though  his  hands  were  as  fire,  and  his 
strength  as  iron.'  Let  men's  hands  be  as  fire  and  their  strength  as  iron, 
yet  ministers  must  deal  with  them,  and  strive  to  make  a  conquest  on 
them,  Ezek.  ii.  3,  seq. 

Luther  professed  that  he  had  rather  be  accounted  anything  than  be 
accused  of  wicked  silence  in  Christ's  cause.  '  Let  me  be  accounted,' 
says  he,  '  proud,  let  me  be  accounted  covetous,  let  me  be  accounted  a 
murderer,  yea,  guilty  of  all  vices,  so  I  be  not  proved  guilty  of  wicked 
silence  for  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ.^ 

'  The  Emblemata,  as  before,  one  of  Brooks's  favourite  volumes.— G. 
2  As  Croesus  his  dumb  son  did  for  his  father.  ^  Heads,  not  tongues. — G. 

*  Basil,  Luther,  Latimer,  Bering,  and  multitudes  of  others,  have  been  very  zealous 
and  courageous  in  their  ministry,  &c. 
^  They  that  write  the  story  of  the  travels  of  the  apostles  report  that  Simon  Zelotea 

V 


EpH.  III.  8. J  KICHES  OF  CHRIST.  215 

Themistocles  being  about  to  speak  to  the  general  of  the  Greek's 
army,  against  Xerxes,  he  held  up  his  staff,  as  if  he  had  been  about  to 
strike  him,  '  Strike/  said  Themistocles,  '  but  yet  hear.'^  So  should 
ministers  say,  strike,  but  yet  hear  ;  rail,  but  yet  hear ;  despise,  but  yet 
hear ;  censure,  but  yet  hear ;  oppose,  but  yet  hear ;  do  what  you  will, 
but  yet  hear.  Non  amat,  qui  non  zelat,  saith  Augustine,  *  He  is  no 
friend  to  God  that  is  not  zealous  for  him." 

When  one  desired  to  know  what  kind  of  man  Basil  was,  there  was, 
saith  the  history,  presented  to  him  in  a  dream,  a  pillar  of  fire  with  this 
motto.  Talis  est  Basilius,  Basil  is  such  a  one,  all  on  a-light  fire  for  God. 
So  every  minister  should  be  all  on  a-fire  for  God. 

[6.]  Sixthly,  They  are  to  preach  Christ  laboriously,  painfully,"^  fre- 
quently.^ A  minister  must  be  like  the  bee,  that  is  still  a-flying  from 
one  flower  to  another  to  suck  out  honey  for  the  good  of  others.  Should 
not  that  dreadful  word  naake  every  idle  shepherd  tremble  :  Jer.  xlviii 
10,  *  Cursed  be  he  that  doth  the  work  of  the  Lord  negligently  ;'  1  Cor. 
XV,  ult., '  Be  ye  stedfast  and  unmoveable,  always  abounding  in  the  work 
of  the  Lord,  knowing  that  your  labour  is  not  in  vain  in  the  Lord.'  Oh 
the  dreadful  woes  that  are  pronounced  in  Scripture  against  idle  shep- 
herds! Jer.  xxiii.  1;  Ezek.  xiii.  3,  xxxiv.  2;  Zech.  xi.  17 ;  Mat.  xxiii.  13- 
16,  23,  25,  27.  The  great  Shepherd  of  our  souls,  the  Lord  Jesus, 
■was  still  a-feeding  of  his  flock,  and  much  in  provoking  others  to  the 
same  work  :  John  xxi.  15,  *  Feed  my  lambs,  feed  my  sheep ;'  2  Tim.  iv. 
2,  *  Preach  the  word  in  season,  and  out  of  season.'  Christ  wept  for 
souls,  and  bled  for  souls,  and  prayed  for  souls  ;  and  shall  not  ministers 
sweat  much  for  souls,  and  work  much  for  the  good  of  souls  ?  Doubtless 
they  will  give  but  a  sad  account  to  Christ  that  make  anything  serve  to 
fill  up  the  hour  ;  that  spend  two  or  three  hours  at  the  end  of  a  week  to 
fit  themselves  for  Sabbath  exercises.  Idleness  is  hateful  in  any,  but 
most  abominable  and  intolerable  in  ministers ;  and  sooner  or  later  none 
shall  pay  so  dear  for  it  as  such.  Witness  the  frequent  woes  that  are 
denounced  in  Scripture  against  them.  Where  should  a  soldier  die  but 
in  the  field  ?     And  where  should  a  minister  die  but  in  the  pulpit  ?* 

Pompey,  in  a  great  dearth  at  Home,  having  provided  store  of  pro- 
visions for  his  citizens  that  were  ready  to  perish,  and  being  ready  to 
put  to  sea,  he  commanded  the  pilot  to  hoist  sail  and  be  gone.  The 
pilot  told  him  that  the  sea  was  tempestuous,  and  that  the  voyage  was 
like  to  be  dangerous.  *  It  matters  not,'  said  Pompey,  '  hoist  up  sail ;  it  is 
not  necessary  that  we  should  live,  it  is  necessary  that  they  should  be 
preserved  from  ruin  and  famine.'*  So  should  ministers  say,  it  is  not 
necessary  that  we  should  live,  but  it  is  necessary  that  poor  souls  should 
live  and  be  happy  for  ever;  it  is  necessary  that  they  should  be  acquainted 
with  the  things  of  their  peace  ;  it  is  necessary  that  they  should  be  de- 
preached  here  in  England,  If  ever  there  needed  some  Zelotes  it  is  now ;  such,  as  Epi- 
phanius  speaks  of  Elijah,  that  he  sucked  fire  out  of  his  mother's  breast. 

'  Plutarch  :  Themistocles  vi.,  et  alibi.— G.  '  Painstakingly.'— G. 

3  The  father  pays  the  nurse  though  the  child  dies,  the  doctor  has  his  fee  though  the 
patient  dies,  and  the  vine-dresser  has  his  reward  though  the  vine  wither ;  so  will  God 
deal  with  faithful  ministers,  2  Cor.  ii.  16  ;  Isa.  xlix.  2-4. 

*  If  a  minister  had  as  many  eyes  as  Argus  to  watch,  and  as  many  hands  as  Briareus 
to  labour,  he  might  find  employment  enough  for  them  all.  [Cf.  Vol.  I.  p.  3,  footnote  1. 
_G.]  "^  Plutarch  :  Pompey — G. 


216  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

livered  from  the  power  of  Satan  and  from  wrath  to  come ;  and  therefore 
it  is  necessary  that  we  should  be  frequent  and  '  abundant  in  the  work 
of  the  Lord/  and  not  plead  storms  and  tempests,  or  that  a  lion  is  in 
the  way.^ 

It  was  Vespasian  the  emperor's  speech,  and  may  well  be  applied  to 
ministers,  Oportet  imperatorem  stantem  mori,  an  emperor  ought  to 
die  standing.^ 

[7.]  Seventhly,  As  they  are  to  preach  Chi-ist  painfully,  so  they  are  to 
preach  Christ  exemplarily  :^  1  Peter  v.  8,  'Be  thou  an  example  to  the 
flock/  They  must  preach  Christ  as  well  in  life  as  in  doctrine.  Ministers 
must  not  be  like  the  drugs,  that  physicians  say  are  hot  in  the  mouth 
and  cold  in  operation  ;  hot  in  the  pulpit,  and  cold  and  careless  in  their 
lives  and  conversations.  They  must  say,  as  Gideon  said  to  his  soldiers : 
Judges  xvii.  17,  '  Look  on  me  and  do  likewise  ;'  Mat.  v.  16,  'Let  your 
light  so  shine  before  men,  that  they  may  see  your  good  works,  and 
glorify  your  Father  which  is  in  heaven.'  They  are  called  angels,  and 
they  are  called  stars,  because  they  should  shine  in  righteousness  and 
holiness. 

What  Csesar  once  said  of  his  wife,  'that  it  was  not  enough  for  her  to 
be  without  fault,  but  she  should  be  without  all  suspicion  of  fault,'  may 
well  be  applied  to  ministers,  who,  of  all  men  in  the  world,  should  be 
most  free  from  the  very  appearances  of  evil.  The  lives  of  ministers 
oftentimes  do  convince  more  strongly  than  their  words ;  their  tongues 
may  persuade,  but  their  lives  command.* 

Tace  lingua,  loquere  vita,  *  Talk  not  of  a  good  life,'  said  the  heathen, 
'but  let  thy  life  speak.'  God  appointed  that  both  the  weights  and 
measures  of  the  sanctuary  should  be  twice  as  large  as  those  of  the 
commonwealth,  to  shew,  that  he  expects  much  more  of  those  that  wait 
upon  him  in  the  sanctuary  than  he  doth  of  others.  Ministers  should 
be  like  musk  among  linen,  which  casts  a  fragrant  smell,  or  like  that 
box  of  spikenard,  which  being  broken  open,  filled  the  house  with  its 
odour. 

Gregory  saith  of  Athanasius,  that  his  life  was  a  continual  sermon 
and  wooing  men  to  Christ.  Aristotle  requires  this  in  an  orator,  that 
he  be  a  good  man  ;  how  much  more  then  should  God's  orators  be  good 
and  gracious  ?  "When  Eli's  sons  were  wicked,  the  people  abhorred  the 
offering  of  the  Lord,  1  Sam.  ii.  17  ;  and  what  is  that  that  renders  the 
things  of  God  so  contemptuous  and  odious  in  the  eyes  of  many  people  in 
this  nation,  but  the  ignorance,  looseness,  profaneness,  and  baseness  of 
those  that  are  the  dispensers  of  them.  Unholy  ministers  pull  down 
instead  of  building  up.  Oh  the  souls  that  their  lives  destroy  !  These, 
by  their  loose  lives,  lead  their  flocks  to  hell,  where  theirselves  must 
lie  lowermost.^ 

A  painter  being  blamed  by  a  cardinal  for  putting  too  much  red  upon 

^  The  angels  on  Jacob's  ladder  were  some  ascending,  others  descending,  none  standing 
or  sitting  still.    Ministers  must  be  like  them. 

2  Suetonius.     [Vesp. — G.] 

'  A  preacher,  as  Quintilian  saith  of  an  orator,  should  be  vir  bonus,  dicendi  peritus,  a 
well-spoken  and  well-deeded  person. 

*  John  the  abbot  professeth  that  he  had  never  taught  others  anything  which  he  had 
not  first  practised  himself. 

^  The  souls  of  priests,  I  may  say  of  ministers,  must  be  purer  than  the  sunbeams,  saith 
Chrysostom.    Jewel,  Bucer,  and  Bradford,  were  famous  examples  for  holiness. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST,  217 

the  visages  of  Peter  and  Paul,  tartly  replied,  that  he  painted  them  so, 
as  blushing  at  the  lives  of  those  men  who  styled  themselves  their 
successors.  Ah  how  do  the  lewd  and  wicked  lives  of  many  that  are 
called  and  accounted  ministers,  make  others  to  blush  ! 

Salvian  relates  how  the  heathen  did  reproach  some  Christians,  who 
by  their  ungodly  lives,  made  the  gospel  of  Christ  to  be  a  reproach  : 
*  Where,'  said  they,  '  is  that  good  law  which  they  do  believe  ?  Where 
are  those  rules  of  godliness  which  they  do  learn  ?  They  read  the  holy 
Gospel,  and  yet  are  unclean  ;  they  hear  the  apostle's  writings,  and  yet 
are  drunk  ;  they  follow  Christ,  and  yet  disobey  Christ ;  they  possess  a  holy 
law,  and  yet  do  lead  impure  lives.'^  As  this  is  very  applicable  to  many 
professors  in  those  days,  so  it  is  applicable  to  many  preachers  also. 

I  have  read  of  a  scandalous  minister  that  was  struck  at  the  heart,  and 
converted  in  reading  those  words :  Rom.  ii.  21,  *  Thou  which  teachest 
another,  teachest  thou  not  thyself?'  If  this  treatise  should  fall  into 
any  such  hand,  oh  that  it  might  have  the  same  operation  !  Wicked 
ministers  do  more  hurt  by  their  lives  than  they  do  good  by  their 
doctrine. 

I  have  read  of  a  gentlewoman  that  turned  athiest  because  she  lived 
under  a  great  learned  doctor  that  preached  excellently  but  lived  very 
licentiously. 

The  heathen  brings  in  a  young  man,  who  hearing  of  the  adulteries  and 
wickedness  of  the  gods,  said,  *  What !  do  they  so,  and  shall  I  stick  at  it  ?' 
So  say  most,  when  their  teachers  and  leaders  are  lewd  and  wicked,  what ! 
do  they  such  and  such  abominations,  and  shall  we  stick  at  it  ? 

When  one  deboist^  in  life  among  the  Lacedemonians  stept  up  and 
gave  good  counsel,  they  would  not  receive  it ;  but  when  another  of  a 
better  life  stept  up  and  gave  the  same  counsel,  they  presently  followed 
it.  The  application  is  easy.  Every  minister's  life  should  be  a  com- 
mentary upon  Christ's  life  ;  nothing  wins  and  builds  like  this.^ 

[8.]  Eighthly,  Ministers  must  preach  feelingly,  experimentally,  as 
well  as  exemplarily.  They  must  speak  from  the  heart  to  the  heart ; 
they  must  feel  the  worth,  the  weight,  the  sweet  of  those  things  upon 
their  own  souls  that  they  give  out  to  others  :  1  John  i.  1-3, '  That  which 
was  from  the  beginning,  which  we  have  heard,  which  we  have  seen  with 
our  eyes,  which  we  have  looked  upon,  and  our  hands  have  handled,  of 
the  word  of  life  (for  the  life  was  manifested,  and  we  have  seen  it,  and 
bear  witness,  and  shew  unto  you  that  eternal  life  which  was  with  the 
Father,  and  was  manifested  unto  us)  ;  that  which  we  have  seen  and 
heard  declare  we  unto  you,  that  ye  also  may  have  fellowship  with  us : 
and  truly  our  fellowship  is  with  the  Father,  and  with  his  Son  Jesus 
Christ.'  The  highest  mystery  in  the  divine  rhetoric,  is  to  feel  what  a 
man  speaks,  and  then  speak  what  a  man  feels. 

Praxiteles  exquisitely  drew  love,  taking  the  pattern  from  that  passion 
which  he  felt  in  his  own  heart. 

It  was  said  of  Luther,  that  he  spake  as  if  he  had  been  within  a  man. 
Ministers  must  so  speak  to  the  people,  as  if  they  lived  in  the  very  hearts 
of  the  people  ;  as  if  they  had  been  told  all  their  wants,  and  all  their 

1  Salvianus  de  Q.  D.  lib.  iv.  2  Debauched.— G. 

3  Chrysosiom  preached  so  feelingly  and  so  affectionately  that  his  hearers  thought  they 
had  as  good  be  without  the  sun  in  the  firmament  as  Chrysostom  in  the  pulpit. 


218  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

ways,  all  their  sins,  and  all  their  doubts.  No  preaching  to  this,  no 
preachers  to  these. 

Ministers  should  not  be  like  Caesar's  soldier,  that  digged  a  fountain 
for  Caesar,  and  himself  perished  for  want  of  water.  Yet  many  such  there 
be  in  these  days,  that  dig  and  draw  water  out  of  the  wells  of  salvation 
for  others,  and  yet  themselves  eternally  perish,  by  their  non-drinking  of 
the  waters  of  life.  If  they  are  monsters,  and  not  to  be  named  among 
men,  that  feed  and  feast  their  servants,  but  starve  their  wives,  then 
what  monsters  are  they  that  feed  and  feast  other  men's  souls,  with  the 
dainties  and  delicates  of  heaven,  but  starve  their  own  1  No  misery,  no 
hell  to  this  ! 

[9.]  Ninthly,  As  ministers  must  preach  the  word  feelingly,  experi- 
mentally, so  they  must  preach  the  word  rightly.  They  must  divide  and 
distribute  the  word  according  to  every  one's  spiritual  estate  and  con- 
dition. They  must  give  comfort  to  whom  comfort  belongs,  and  counsel 
to  whom  counsel  belongs,  and  reproof  to  whom  reproof  belongs,  and 
terror  to  whom  terror  belongs  :  2  Tim.  ii.  15,  '  Study  to  shew  thyself 
approved  unto  God,  a  workman  that  needeth  not  to  be  ashamed,  rightly 
dividing  the  word  of  truth  ;'  or,  word  for  word,  'Rightly  cutting  into 
parts  the  word  of  truth/  Isa.  xl.  1,  2,  1.  4  ;  2  Cor.  v.  10-12.  Some 
say  [Gerhard,  Perkins,  &c.]  the  metaphor  is  taken  from  the  priests  of 
the  Old  Testament,  who  having  slain  the  beasts  that  were  to  be  sacri- 
ficed, did  joint  and  divide  the  same  in  an  accurate  manner.  Others  say 
[Chrysostom,  BuUinger,  Theophylact,  &;c.]  it  is  a  metaphor  taken  from 
a  cutter  of  leather,  who  cutteth  off  that  which  is  superfluous,  when  he 
cutteth  out  reins  and  thongs.  So  in  the  handling  of  the  word,  questions 
that  are  superfluous  and  unprofitable,  ought  to  be  cut  off ;  and  that 
only  is  to  be  held  forth  that  makes  for  the  hearer's  instruction,  edification 
and  consolation.  Others  say  the  metaphor  is  taken  from  the  cutting 
and  squaring  out  of  the  streets  and  highways,  and  setting  out  the 
bounds  of  men's  lands  and  possessions.  Others  by  cutting  the  word  of 
truth  aright,  understand  the  raising  of  right  instructions,  by  following 
the  rule  of  the  word,  only  as  a  ploughman  that  draweth  or  cutteth  a 
right  furrow  in  the  ground.^ 

To  divide  the  word  aright,  is  to  cut  out,  saith  Calvin  and  others,  to 
every  one  his  portion,  as  a  parent  cutteth  out  bread  to  his  children,  or 
a  cook  meat  to  his  guests.  A  general  doctrine  not  applied,  is  as  a  sword 
without  an  edge,  not  in  itself,  but  to  the  people,  who  by  reason  of  their 
own  singular  senselessness  and  weakness,  are  not  able  to  apply  it  to  their 
own  estates  and  conditions ;  or  as  a  whole  loaf  set  before  children, 
that  will  do  them  no  good.  A  garment  fitted  for  all  bodies,  is  fit  for 
nobody  ;  and  that  which  is  spoken  to  all  is  taken  as  spoken  to  none. 
Doctrine  is  but  the  drawing  of  the  bow,  application  is  the  hitting  of  the 
mark.  How  many  are  wise  in  generals,  but  vain  in  their  practical  in- 
ferences !  Such  preachers  are  fitter  for  Rome  than  England.  Souls 
may  go  sleeping  and  dreaming  to  hell  before  such  preaching,  ere  such 
preachers  will  awaken  them  and  shew  them  their  danger.  Oh  that 
therefore  the  people  were  so  wise  as,  that  when  sin  is  reproved,  judg- 

'  And  if  Galen  could  say  that  in  anatomising  a  man's  brain,  physicians  must  carry 
themselves  as  men  do  in  the  temple,  how  much  more  must  ministers  do  so  in  dividing 
the  word  of  life  ! 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  219 

meots  threatened,  miseries  promised,  and  Christ  freely  and  fully  offered, 
they  would  apply  all  to  their  own  souls  !  This  is  the  misery  of  many 
in  our  days  ;  they  come  to  sermons  as  beggars  come  to  banquets,  carry- 
ing nothing  but  the  scraps  away  with  them. 

[10.]  Tenthly,  They  must  preach  the  word  acceptably,  as  well  as 
rightly  :  Eccles.  xii.  10,  '  The  preacher  sought  to  find  out  acceptable 
words  ;'  or  words  of  delight,  as  the  Hebrew  has  it,  '  and  that  which  was 
WTitten  was  upright,  even  words  of  truth. '^  Ministers'  words  should  be 
divinely  delectable  and  desirable ;  they  should  divinely  please,  and 
divinely  profit ;  they  should  divinely  tickle,  and  divinely  take  both  ear 
and  heart.  A  minister  should  be  a  weighty  speaker  ;  he  should  clothe 
his  doctrine  in  such  a  comely,  lovely  dress,  as  that  he  may  by  it  slide  in- 
sensibly into  his  hearers'  hearts.  Ministers  should  clothe  their  matter 
with  decent  words.  The  leaves  give  some  beauty  to  the  tree.  Good 
matter  in  an  unseemly  language,  is  like  a  bright  taper  in  a  sluttish 
candlestick,  or  like  a  fair  body  in  unhandsome  clothes,  or  like  a  gold 
ring  on  a  leprous  hand.  *  Truth,'  saith  one,  '  loves  to  be  plain,  but  not 
sluttish.'  As  she  loves  not  to  be  clad  in  gay  colours,  like  a  wanton 
strumpet,  so  not  in  lousy  rags  like  a  nasty  creature.  Aaron's  bells  were 
golden  bells,  dulce  sonantes,  sounding  pleasantly,  and  not  as  sounding 
brass,  or  tinkling  cymbals.  Holy  eloquence  is  a  gift  of  the  Holy  Ghost, 
Acts  xviii.  24,  and  may  doubtless,  as  well  as  other  gifts  of  the  Spirit,  be 
made-  prudently  useful  to  the  setting  forth  of  divine  truth,  and  the 
catching  of  souls  by  craft,  as  the  apostle  speaks,  2  Cor.  xii.  ]  6.  Surely 
where  it  is,  it  may  be  made  use  of  as  an  Egyptian  jewel  to  adorn  the 
tabernacle.^ 

Lactantius  [De  falsa  Sap.  lib.  v.  cap.  1]  hath  well  observed,  that  philoso- 
phers, orators,  and  poets,  were  therefore  very  pernicious,  in  that  they  easily 
ensnared  incautious  minds  with  sweetness  of  speech  ;  therefore  his 
advice  is,  even  in  delivering  the  truth  of  Christ,  to  sweeten  the  speech 
for  the  winning  of  them  to  Christ,  who  will  neither  hear,  nor  read,  nor 
value,  nor  regard  the  truth,  except  it  be  polished  and  trimmed  up  in  a 
lovely  dress.^ 

[11.]  In  the  last  place,  and  so  to  add  no  more,  as  they  must  preach 
the  word  acceptably,  so  they  must  preach  the  word  constantly^  They 
must  not  lay  down  the  Bible,  to  take  up  the  sword,  as  some  have  done 
for  worldly  advantages,  1  Cor.  vii.  10,  24  ;  they  must  not  leave  the  word 
to  serve  tables.  Acts  vi.  1,  as  others  have  done  upon  the  same  account ; 
they  must  not  change  their  black  cloaks,  for  scarlet  cloaks  ;  they  must 
abide  and  continue  in  their  places  and  employments  ;  they  must  neither 
change  their  work  nor  their  master  :  Acts  vi.  4,  'But  we  will  give  our- 
selves continually  to  prayer,  and  to  the  ministry  of  the  word.'  They 
would  not  assign  their  charge  to  some  surrogates  or  deputies,  that 
themselves  might  live  at  ease.  No  !  they  were  peremptorily  resolved  to 
hold  on,  to  continue  in  these  two  choice  duties,  prayer  and  ministry  of 

*  ^p2  in  Pihil,  from  Bakash,  signifies  an  earnest,  vehement  seeking,  &c. 

2  It  was  a  fine  commendation  given  by  Quintiiian  of  Thucydides  :  Thucydides  writes 
thick  and  quick,  close  and  clear  ;  he  is  solid  and  succinct,  sententious  and  judicious. 

3  Basil  and  Bucer  were  curt  and  concise,  full  and  clear,  in  their  discourses. 

*  The  shew-bread  stood  all  the  week  before  the  Lord,  to  shew  that  preaching  is  not 
out  of  season  on  any  day. 


220  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EpH.  III.  8. 

the  word.  So  in  chap.  xxvi.  22,  *  Having  therefore  obtained  help  of 
God,  I  continue  unto  this  day,  witnessing  both  to  small  and  great,  say- 
ing no  other  things  than  those  which  the  prophets  and  Moses  did  say 
should  come.'  1  Tim.  iv.  15, 16,  *  Meditate  upon  these  things  ;  give  thy- 
self wholly  to  them,  [sv  rovroig  'fo9i,  spend  thy  time  in  them],  that  thy  pro- 
fiting may  appear  to  all,  or  in  all  things.  Take  heed  unto  thyself,  and 
unto  thy  doctrine  ;  continue  in  them :  for  in  doing  this  thou  shalt  both 
save  thyself,  and  them  that  hear  thee;'  2  Tim.  iii.  14,  'But  [Mhs, 
abide,  keep  thy  station,  thou  wilt  be  put  to  it,  thou  wilt  meet  with 
earthquakes]  continue  thou  in  the  things  which  thou  hast  learned, 
and  hast  been  assured  of,  knowing  of  whom  thou  hast  learned  them  ;' 
Eccles.  xii.  9,  '  And  moreover,  because  the  preacher  was  wise,  he  still 
taught  the  people  knowledge  ;  yea,  he  gave  good  heed,  and  sought  out, 
and  set  in  order  many  proverbs.' 

Hosea  was  fourscore  years  a  prophet  in  Israel,  and  yet  did  not  con- 
vert them  ;  yet  notwithstanding  all  discouragements  he  continued  con- 
stant, and  that  with  abundance  of  freshness  and  liveliness. 

Chrysostom  compares  good  pastors  to  fountains  that  ever  send  forth 
waters,  or  conduits  that  are  always  running,  though  no  pail  be  put 
under.     [Chrysost.  in  Mat.  Horn,  xv.] 

Erasmus  saith  of  Jerome,  Minima  'pars  nodis  dabatur  somno, 
minor  cibo,  nulla  otio,  He  allowed  least  time  for  sleep,  little  for  food, 
none  for  idleness.  It  best  becomes  a  minister  to  die  preaching  in  a 
pulpit. 

Now  if  this  be  so,  then  by  way  of  use  let  me  say.  That  this  truth 
looks  very  sourly  and  wistly  upon  all  those  that  preach  anything 
rather  than  Ghmst. 

The  Lord  be  merciful  to  them !  How  have  they  forgotten  the  great 
work  about  which  their  heads  and  hearts  should  be  most  exercised,  to 
wit,  the  bringing  in  of  souls  to  Christ,  and  the  building  up  of  souls  in 
Christ.  Where  do  we  find  in  all  the  Scripture,  that  Christ,  his  prophets 
or  apostles,  did  ever  in  their  preaching  meddle  with  businesses  of  state, 
or  things  of  a  mere  civil  concernment  ?  *  My  kingdom  is  not  of  this 
world.     Who  has  made  me  a  judge  ? '  says  Christ. 

I  hope  it  will  not  be  counted  presumption  in  me  if  I  shall  propound 
a  few  rules  for  such  to  observe  that  are  willing  to  preach  Christ  to 
poor  souls.     I  will  only  propound  three. 

[1.]  And  the  first  is  this.  If  you  would  preach  Christ  to  the  people, 
according  to  the  rules  last  mentioned,  then  you  must  get  a  Christ 
within  you. 

There  is  nothing  that  makes  a  man  indeed  so  able  to  preach  Christ 
to  the  people,  as  the  getting  a  Christ  within  him ;  and  it  is  very  ob- 
servable, that  the  great  rabbles  and  doctors  that  want  a  Christ  within, 
they  do  but  bungle  in  the  work  of  the  Lord,  in  the  preaching  of  a 
crucified  Jesus ;  and  were  it  not  for  the  help  of  Austin,  Chrysostom, 
Ambrose,  and  Tertullian,  &c.,  what  sad,  dead,  and  pitiful  work  would 
they  make !  Yea,  for  want  of  a  Christ  within,  how  little  of  Christ  do 
they  understand !  How  little  of  Christ  do  they  make  known,  notwith- 
standing all  their  borrowed  helps  !  Paul  was  a  man  that  had  got  a  Christ 
within  him:  Gal.  ii.  20,  '  I  live;  yet  not  I,  but  Christ  lives  in  me :  and 
the  life  that  I  live  is  by  the  faith  of  the  Son  of  God,'  &c.     Compare 


EpH.  III.  8. J  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  221 

this  with  Gal.  iv.  1 9,  '  My  little  children,  of  whom  I  travail  in  birth  till 
Christ  be  formed  in  you.'  A  Christ  within,  makes  him  travail  in  birth. 
The  Greek  word  translated,  *  I  travail  in  birth,'  signifies  not  only  the 
travail  of  the  woman  at  the  birth  of  the  child,  but  also  the  painful  bear- 
ing thereof  before  the  birth.  The  pains  of  travail  breed  not  a  greater 
desire  to  see  a  man-child  born  into  the  world,  than  Paul's  love  bred  in 
him,  till  Christ  were  anew  formed  in  them,  2  Cor.  xi.  23.  No  man  did 
so  much  for  the  winning  of  souls  to  Christ  as  Paul,  nor  no  man  had  so 
much  of  a  Christ  within  him  as  Paul.  Nothing  will  naturalise  a 
minister's  heart  to  his  work  like  a  Christ  within ;  nothing  will  make 
him  so  wise,  so  painful,  so  watchful,  so  careful  to  win  souls,  as  a  Christ 
within ;  nothing  will  make  him  hold  out  and  hold  on  in  the  work  of 
the  Lord,  in  the  face  of  all  oppositions,  persecutions,  dangers,  and  deaths, 
as  a  Christ  within  ;  nothing  will  make  a  man  strive  with  sinners,  and 
weep  over  sinners,  and  wait  upon  sinners  for  their  return,  as  a  Christ 
within.^  Such  ministers  as  have  not  a  Christ  within  them,  will  find  no 
comfort,  and  as  little  success,  in  their  preaching  of  Christ.  Above  all 
gettings,  get  a  Christ  within,  or  else  after  all  thy  preaching,  thyself  will 
be  a  cast-away. 

[2.]  Secondly,  They  that  would  preach  Christ  to  the  people,  must 
study  more  Sci^pture  truths,  Scripture  mysteHes^  than  human 
histories. 

They  must  study  God's  book  more  than  all  other  books.  The  truth 
and  antiquity  of  the  book  of  God  finds  no  companion,  either  in  age  or 
authority.  No  histories  are  comparable  to  the  histories  of  the  scriptures, 
for,  1,  antiquity ; 2  2,  rariety;^  3,  variety  ;  4,  brevity;  5,  perspicuity  ;  6, 
harmony ;  7,  verity. 

'Gregory'  calls  the  Scripture,  cor  et  animam  dei,  the  heart  and 
soul  of  God ;  for  in  the  Scriptures,  as  in  a  glass,  we  may  see  how  the 
heart  and  soul  of  God  stands  towards  his  poor  creatures.  It  was  the 
glory  of  Apollos  that  he  was  mighty  in  the  Scripture,  Acts  xviii.  24 ; 
John  V.  39,  *  Search  the  Scriptures,'  saith  Christ.  The  Greek  word 
signifies  to  search  as  men  search  for  gold  in  mines,  l^swars.  You  must 
search  the  Scriptures,  not  superficially  but  narrowly.  The  Scriptures 
are  a  great  depth,  wherein  the  choicest  treasures  are  hid ;  therefore  you 
must  dig  deep  if  you  will  find :  Col.  iii.  16,  '  Let  the  word  of  Christ 
dwell  richly  in  you  ;'  or  as  the  Greek  hath  it,  svotxihu  Iv  v/u^Tv.  '  Let  the 
word  of  Christ  indwell  in  you,  as  an  engrafted  word,  incorporated  into 
your  souls.'  Let  the  word  be  so  concocted  and  digested  by  you,  as  that 
you  turn  it  into  a  part  of  yourselves.  You  must  be  familiarly  acquainted 
with  the  word ;  you  must  not  let  it  pass  by  you  as  a  stranger,  or  lodge 
and  sojourn  with  you  as  a  wa3rfaring  man  ;  it  must  continually  abide 
with  you,  and  dwell  richly  in  you :  2  Tim.  iii.  16,  17,  *  All  scripture  is 
given  by  inspiration  of  God,  and  is  profitable  for  doctrine,  for  reproof, 
for  correction,  for  instruction  in  righteousness ;  that  the  man  of  God 

1  As  nurses  to  princes'  children  are  fed  with  the  most  delicate  fare,  but  not  for  their 
own  sakes,  but  for  the  children's  sake  to  whom  they  give  nurse,  so  it  is  with  many 
ministers  that  want  a  Christ  within,  2  Tim.  ii.  24,  25. 

2  Moses  is  found  more  ancient  than  all  those  whom  the  Grecians  make  most  ancient ; 
as  Homer,  Hesiod,  and  Jupiter  himself,  whom  the  Greeks  have  seated  in  the  top  of  their 
divinity.     [Theophilus  Gale,  as  before.— G.]  ^  Rarity,  =  preciousness.— G. 


222  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

may  be  perfect,  thoroughly  furnished  unto  all  good  works.'  All  books 
and  helps  are  not  comparable  to  the  Bible,  for  the  completing  and  per- 
fecting of  a  man  for  the  work  of  the  ministry. 

That  which  a  papist  reports  of  their  sacrament  of  the  mass,  that  there 
are  as  many  mysteries  in  it  as  there  are  drops  in  the  sea,  dust  on  the 
earth,  angels  in  heaven,  stars  in  the  sky,  atoms  in  the  sunbeams,  or 
sands  on  the  sea-shore,  &c.,  may  be  truly  asserted  of  the  word  of  God ; 
no  study  to  the  study  of  the  Scripture  for  profit  and  comfort.  Count 
Anhalt,  that  princely  preacher,  was  wont  to  say,  'That  the  whole 
Scriptures  were  the  swaddling  bands  of  the  child  Jesus,'  he  being  to  be 
found  almost  in  every  page,  in  every  verse,  in  every  line.^ 

Luther  would  often  say,  *  That  he  had  rather  that  all  his  books  should 
be  burned,  than  that  they  should  be  a  means  to  hinder  persons  from 
studying  of  the  Scripture.' 

[3.]  The  third  and  last  rule  I  shall  lay  down,  is  this>  Siich  as  would 
preach  Christ  aright  to  the  people  had  need  dwell  much  upon  the 
vanity  of  human  doctrines. 

The  vanity  of  which  doctrines  may  be  thus  discovered  : 
First,  They  do  not  discover  sin  in  its  ugliness  and  filthiness  as  the 
Scriptures  do.     They  search  but  to  the  skin,  they  reach  not  to  the  heart ; 
they  do  not  do  as  the  master  did  in  Jonah's  ship,  when  they  were  in  a 
storm. 

Secondly,  Human  doctrines  have  no  humbling  power  in  them.  They 
may  a  little  tickle  you,  but  they  can  never  humble  you  ;  they  cannot 
cast  down  Satan's  strongholds ;  they  cannot  melt  nor  break  the  heart 
of  a  sinner ;  they  cannot  make  him  cry  out  with  the  leper,  '  Unclean, 
unclean.'  ^ 

Thirdly,  Human  doctrines  nourish  not  the  noble  part,  the  soul  of 
man.  The  prodigal  was  like  to  starve  before  he  returned  to  his  father's 
house.  A  man  may  study  much,  and  labour  much,  and  lay  out  much 
of  his  time  and  spirits  about  human  doctrines,  and  yet  after  all  be  like 
to  Pharoah's  lean  kine.  A  man  that  studies  human  doctrines  doth  but 
feed  upon  ashes. 

Fomihly,  Human  doctrines  cannot  cure  a  wound  in  the  conscience. 
The  diseased  woman  spent  all  she  had  upon  physicians,  but  was  not  a 
penny  the  better.  The  remedy  is  too  weak  for  the  disease.  Conscience, 
like  Prometheus'  vulture,  will  still  lie  gnawing  notwithstanding  all  that 
such  doctrines  can  do. 

Fifthly,  Human  doctrines  are  so  far  from  enriching  the  soul,  that 
they  usually  impoverish  the  soul.  They  weaken  the  soul ;  they  expose 
the  soul  to  the  greatest  wants  and  to  the  greatest  weaknesses  ;  they 
play  the  harlot  with  the  soul ;  they  impoverish  it,  and  bring  it  to  'a 
morsel  of  bread.'  Who  so  poor  in  spiritual  experiences  and  heavenly 
enjoyments  as  such  that  sit  under  the  droppings  of  human  doctrines  ? 

Sixthly,  Human  doctrines  make  men  servants  to  the  humours  and 
corruptions  of  men ;  they  make  men-pleasers  of  men  rather  than 
pleasers  of  God ;  yea,  they  make  men  set  up  themselves  and  others, 
sometimes  in  the  room  of  Christ,  and  sometimes  above  Christ.     I  hope 

1  Whiles  they  burned  ns,  said  reverend  Du  Moulin,  for  reading  the  Scriptures,  we 
burned  with  zeal  to  be  reading  of  them.     But  where  is  this  brave  spirit  now  ? 

2  These  things  had  need  be  seriously  minded  in  these  days,  wherein  human  doctrines 
are  so  much  exalted  and  admired. 


EpH.  III.  8.]  RICHES  OF  CHRIST.  223 

these  few  short  hints  may  prevail  with  some  to  fall  in  with  this  counsel, 
that  so  they  may  the  better  preach  the  Lord  Jesus  to  the  people. 
And  so  much  for  this  doctrine. 

Unto  me,  who  am  less  than  the  least  of  all  saints,  is  this  grace  given, 
that  I  should  preach  among  the  Gentiles  the  unsearchable  riches  of 
Christ,  Eph.  iii.  8. 

Having  spoken  much  concerning  ministers'  duty,  I  shall  now  speak 
a  little  concerning  their  dignity,  and  so  finish  this  text. 

'  Unto  me,  who  am  less  than  the  least  of  all  saints,  is  this  grace 
given,  that  I  should  preach  among  the  Gentiles  the  unsearchable  riches 
of  Christ.'  This  grace,  this  favour,  this  honour  is  given  to  me,  that  I 
should  preach,  &c.  I  look  not  upon  it  as  a  poor,  low,  mean,  contemptible 
thing,  but  as  a  very  great  honour,  '  that  I  should  preach  among  the 
Gentiles  the  unsearchable  riches  of  Christ.' 

The  observation  that  I  shall  speak  to  is  this  : 

Obs.  That  the  office  of  a  minister  or  preacher  is  honourable. 

For  the  understanding  of  this  point,  premise  with  me  two  things  : 

First,  That  by  a  minister,  I  understand  one  that  is  qualified  ac- 
cording to  gospel  rules,  and  that  is  internally  called  by  God,  and  exter- 
nally called  by  the  people  of  God,  to  the  ministerial  office. 

The  second  thing  that  I  would  have  you  premise  with  me  for  the 
understanding  of  the  point  is  this,  that  the  common  appellation  of  those 
that  are  set  apart  for  the  preaching  of  the  gospel  in  the  New  Testa- 
ment is  5/ax&vo/,  ministers.  So  in  1  Cor.  iii.  5;  2  Cor.  iii.  6,  and 
chap.  vi.  4,  and  chap;  xi.  15,  23;  1  Tim.  iv.  16,  and  in  divers  other 
places,  the  word  minister  is  a  title  of  office,  service,  or  administration 
given  frequently  to  the  preachers  of  the  gospel.  As  for  the  names  of 
ambassadors,  stewards,  and  the  like,  wherewith  they  are  often  honoured, 
they  are  figurative,  and  given  to  them  by  allusion  only. 

These  two  things  being  premised,  we  shall  now  proceed  to  the  open- 
ing of  the  point. 

1.  And,  in  the  first  place,  I  shall  prove  that  the  office  of  a  minister 
is  an  honourable  office. 

2.  And  then,  in  the  second  place,  I  shall  shew  you  what  honour  is 
due  to  them. 

3.  And  then,  in  the  third  place,  I  shall  shew  you  how  you  are  to 
honour  them. 

4.  And  then,  in  the  last  place,  we  shall  bring  home  all  by  a  word  of 
application. 

Christians,  give  me  leave  to  tell  you  this  by  the  way,  that  since  the 
gospel  hath  shined  in  England,  a  godly,  faithful,  painful  ministry  was 
never  more  subtilly  and  vehemently  struck  at  by  men  that  make  a  fair 
show,  and  by  men  of  corrupt  opinions  and  wicked  lives.  This  age 
affords  many  church-levellers  as  well  as  state-levellers.  Some  there  be, 
that  under  that  notion  of  plucking  up  corrupt  ministers,  would  pluck 
up  by  the  very  roots  the  true  ministry.  But  God  has  and  will  be  still 
too  hard  for  such  men.  If  they  will  be  monsters,  God  will  be  sure  to 
be  master.  His  faithful  ministers  are  stars  that  he  holds  in  his  right 
hand,  Rev.  ii.  1 ;  and  men  shall  as  soon  pull  the  sun  out  of  the  firma- 
ment, as  pull  them  out  of  the  hand  of  God. 


224  THE  UNSEARCHABLE  [EPH.  III.  8. 

Now,  considering  that  there  is  such  a  spirit  abroad  in  the  world,  I 
hope  no  sober,  serious  Christians  will  be  offended  at  my  standing  up  to 
vindicate  the  honour  of  a  godly,  faithful  ministry.  In  order  to  which, 
I  shall  first  prove  that  the  ofi&ce  of  a  minister  is  honourable;  and  to  me 
these  following  things  speak  it  out : 

[1.]  First,  The  several  names  and  titles  that  are  given  to  them  in 
Scripture,  doth  speak  them  out  to  be  honourable.  They  are  called 
fathers,  stewards,  ambassadors,  overseers,  and  angels,  as  you  all  know 
that  know  anything  of  Scripture.  To  spend  time  to  prove  this,  would 
be  to  light  candles  to  see  the  sun  at  noon. 

[2.]  Secondly,  Their  work  is  honourable.  Their  whole  work  is 
about  souls,  about  winning  souls  to  Christ,  and  about  building  souls  up 
in  Christ ;  and  to  these  two  heads  the  main  work  of  the  ministry  may 
be  reduced.  The  more  noble  the  soul  is,  the  more  honour  it  is  to  be 
busied  and  exercised  about  it :  James  v.  20,  *  Let  him  know,  that  he 
which  converteth  the  sinner  from  the  error  of  his  way,  shall  save  a  soul 
from  death,  and  shall  hide  a  multitude  of  sins.'^ 

'  Let  him  know,'  that  is,  let  him  take  notice  that  an  honourable  and 
glorious  work  is  done  by  him.  The  soul  is  the  immediate  work  of 
God  ;  the  soul  is  the  image  of  God  ;  the  soul  is  capable  of  union  and 
communion  with  God  ;  the  soul  is  worth  more  than  a  world,  yea,  than 
a  thousand  worlds.  Christ  prayed  for  souls,  and  wrought  miracles  for 
souls,  and  wept  for  souls,  and  left  his  Father's  bosom  for  souls,  and  bled 
out  his  heart's  blood  for  souls,  and  is  gone  to  heaven  to  make  provision 
for  souls,  yea,  he  is  now  a-making  intercession  for  souls.  All  which 
speaks  out  the  excellency